Actor Don Cheadle, who plays jazz legend Miles Davis in a new movie, says the star probably had bipolar disorder.
The Oscar-nominee spent 10 years researching and studying Davis for the film, Miles Ahead, which he also co-wrote and directed.
“If you had him on the couch today, he might be diagnosed as being bipolar, or something of that nature,” Cheadle told the BBC.
“But it also is the spring from whence all this incredible work happens.”
Bipolar disorder is characterised by periods of depression and mania, with the latter frequently linked to bouts of creativity.
Davis was known to be erratic and habitually unpleasant (he would often perform with his back turned to the audience) but he was never diagnosed with a mental illness.
Cheadle said the star’s volatility was “not dissimilar to many artists of that ilk who are creating at a high level”.
Miles Ahead, which is released on 22 April, has won critical praise for avoiding the cliches of “cradle-to-grave” biopics – instead focusing on five lost years, where Davis stopped recording and became a recluse.
“There are books that chronicle his life and get all the facts down,” Cheadle explained, “so the [Davis] family were completely down with a representation that was more about creativity than some result-oriented piece that felt like it was the CliffsNotes of his life.
“[To] not do something that felt like cookie cutter, but do something that was innovative and impressionistic and felt like cinematic jazz.”
Cheadle put his own money into the project, and used crowd-funding to help bolster the budget.
But he told Rolling Stone magazine he could not get the film fully-financed without a white co-star – eventually casting Ewan McGregor in the role of a (fictional) Rolling Stone reporter, trying to secure an interview with Davis.
“I could put parentheses around ‘white’ and said ‘international’ – …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment