You know, we got Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash, and the fantastic, sadly ignored Bird, about Charlie Parker, and of course The Doors, but there really aren’t that many films about legendary musicians, and even less truly great ones. Think about all the great artists, many deceased, who have really interesting life-stories that, as far as I know, have not been immortalized in film. John Coltrane, Miles Davis (although I believe there is one in the works with Don Cheadle in the role,) Thelonious Monk (I personally think this might be the most fascinating subject,) Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Buckley (as long as his overprotective mother doesn’t get in the way and prevent them from presenting an unflinching view of his life, that is) and even Jimi Hendrix – yes, I’m aware of the Showtime movie, but I’m going to disregard that since it pretty much got horrible reviews, and none of Hendrix’s music was used in the film – a Hendrix film HAS TO have his music in it. I’m talking about needing films that do service to these greats’ stature, not piddly crap like Hendrix.
Really, a big chunk of the jazz world would have the msot fascinating tales to be told, but it seems like if there’s little movement on a Coltrane bio-pic, arguably one of the two biggest names in jazz, ever, then it’s unlikely anyone else would receive the treatment. (Of course, Dexter Gordon starred in Round Midnight, but it wasn’t a bio-pic of himself, just a fictional film. I still need to see this.) Of course, there’s a likelihood that these films will be butcher-jobs, but I’m willing to take the chance – at least some of them might be good.