You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cheadle chooses ‘Blues’

Leonard con artist pic is currently out to scribes

Don Cheadle will make his directorial debut on “Tishomingo Blues,” a Film Four adaptation of the Elmore Leonard bestseller. He might play the flashiest character in the book, as well.

The deal is being wrapped up by Cheadle’s CAA reps, and will mark the second Leonard adaptation he has starred in, after the Steven Soderbergh-directed “Out of Sight.”

The new book revolves around a con artist from Detroit named Robert Taylor, who is trying to take over the Dixie mob’s Gulf Coast drug business, and finds a way in by merit of a circus high diver who witnesses a murder. The drama culminates in the reenactment of a famous Civil War battle, and the style of the book is very much in the humorous vein of “Get Shorty” and “Out of Sight.”

Film Four chief executive Paul Webster said the idea of involving Cheadle came because he seemed Taylor-made to play that villain role. Now, Webster said, Cheadle will have to decide whether he wants to star in the film he’ll definitely be directing.

“We were meeting people for that role with Elmore,” Webster said, “and Don came in with the most amazing chutzpah, tells Elmore right up front he hadn’t read the book, and proceeds to charm us all. Then he did read the book, came back with strong responses on how to make it, with great visual imagination.

“You know from the projects he makes that he’s a very discerning guy and I don’t think it will be a big leap for him at all to be a director.”

Cheadle becomes the latest in a growing list of leading men who either have gotten, or plan to get, behind the camera. They include Denzel Washington, who has completed his directing debut on a still-untitled pic based on the life of Antwone Fisher for Fox Searchlight; Clooney, who’s directing and starring in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” for Miramax; and Russell Crowe, who plans to direct and star in an adaptation of WWII drama “The Long Green Shore” for Intermedia and producer Mark Johnson.

“Tishomingo Blues,” which is being produced by Leonard and Michael Siegel, is currently out to writers, with plans to be in production before the year is out. It continues the movie momentum of Film Four, which released “Sexy Beast” and “Birthday Girl” and whose upcoming pics include Danny De Vito-directed “Death To Smoochy” starring Robin Williams and Edward Norton, and “Buffalo Soldiers,” the Gregor Jordan-directed pic starring Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris and Anna Paquin.

More Film

  • Warner Bros., Bron Strike $100 Million

    Warner Bros., Bron Strike $100 Million Co-Financing Deal

    Warner Bros. and Bron Creative have closed a $100 million co-financing deal for five movies, including Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” and Rebel Wilson’s “Isn’t It Romantic.” The deal, announced on Tuesday, also covers the “Joker” origin film starring Joaquin Phoenix; crime drama “The Kitchen,” with Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish; action-comedy “Superintelligence,” toplined by McCarthy, Bobby [...]

  • VICE

    Adam McKay Explains the 'Vice' Musical Number He Left on the Cutting Room Floor

    Adam McKay’s “Vice” has clearly divided critics, with some calling it a bold and daring analysis of one of the most pivotal figures in American politics, and others mincing no words in labeling it, full stop, the worst film of the year. (Truly, in the year of a Dinesh D’Souza movie, people are grandstanding with [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead

    Penny Marshall, 'Laverne & Shirley' Star, Director, Dies at 75

    Penny Marshall, who starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley” and then became a successful director, died on Monday night at her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Variety has confirmed. She was 75. Marshall was the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 [...]

  • 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Box

    Peter Jackson's 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Collects $2.3 Million on Monday

    Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” earned $2.3 million at 1,122 theaters in North America on Monday. Warner Bros. released the movie five weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. The studio partnered with Fathom Events in the U.S. for a one-day event, marking the largest single [...]

  • Dua LipaVariety Hitmakers Brunch, Portraits, Los

    'Alita: Battle Angel' to Feature New Song by Dua Lipa

    Robert Rodriguez’s “Alita: Battle Angel” will feature a new song by Dua Lipa. “Swan Song,” co-written by Justin Tranter, Kennedi Lykken, Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson and Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), in addition to Dua Lipa, will drop ahead of the film’s U.S. opening on Feb. 14. The Twentieth Century Fox action-adventure movie was produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau [...]

  • Les Arcs Festival Unveil Prizes For

    'System Crasher,' 'White on White' Win Work-in-Progress Awards at Les Arcs

    Nora Fingscheidt’s “System Crasher” and Theo Court’s “White on White” won the top prizes at Les Arcs Film Festival’s Work-in-Progress session. Both titles were among the 18 films in post-production pitched during the 10th edition of the Work-in-Progress showcase which is spearheaded by Frederic Boyer, the artistic director of Les Arcs and Tribeca festivals. “System [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content