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Don Cheadle's Miles Davis movie 'Miles Ahead' is headed to theaters

Don Cheadle's Miles Davis movie 'Miles Ahead' is headed to theaters
Don Cheadle's Miles Davis biopic, "Miles Ahead," will premiere on the closing night of the New York Film Festival. (Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP)

One of the juicier questions of the upcoming awards season has been answered, with Sony Pictures Classics announcing it has picked up the rights to "Miles Ahead," the Miles Davis biopic directed by and starring Don Cheadle.

The movie has gained heat since the New York Film Festival announced it as a closing night, but without distribution, its immediate fate was uncertain. SPC did not announce a release date Wednesday, but the movie is likely to arrive this fall, with an awards campaign to accompany it.

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"Miles Ahead" focuses on a tumultuous period in the jazz legend's life as he seeks to rebound from a career and personal low and recapture both his creative mojo and the rights to his music. The movie ups the ante by offering a fact-based performance from an actor — a modern staple — who also manages to do double duty as a director.

In a statement, Cheadle, a first-time director, said he wanted to use "these cloistered years [of Davis'] as a jumping off point to compose the story of a self-exiled artist creating his own 'centrifugal adventure' to spin himself back into playing music again.

SPC executives added that the movie marks "the first time [we're witnessing] this part of Miles Davis' story as it deserves to be told."

The movie is the second upcoming music-world film from Sony Classics; the specialty distributor also has rights to "I Saw the Light," the Hank Williams biopic starring Tom Hiddleston. That movie also is expected to be a fall-festival and awards-season contender.

"Miles Ahead," which is likely to play at either the Telluride or Toronto film festivals, calls to mind another late-summer awards move by SPC, which last year acquired the Alzheimer's drama "Still Alice" out of Toronto. The movie went on to garner Julianne Moore a best actress Academy Award.

Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT 

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