Don Cheadle says 'Miles Ahead' wouldn't have been financed without "white" actor Ewan McGregor on board.

Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle

Cheadle plays legendary jazz musician Miles Davis in the biopic to be released in April and revealed the late icon's family couldn't get the cash together to make the film without casting a non-black actor in a lead role.

Don explained: "To get this film financed, we needed a white co-star. These are issues that come into play. And until Ewan came on, until we had cast the proper white co-star, there was no Miles Davis movie. There was no 'Miles Ahead'.

"The family had been trying to make this movie for years, and we straight-up told them, 'We need a white co-star. We need to tell this story, in order to get this money, with a white male lead.' That means something."

McGregor, 44, plays fictional Rolling Stone journalist Dave Braden, a character written into the storyline with the purpose of helping tell Miles' life story to the audience.

Cheadle was grateful the Scottish actor accepted the part and didn't see it as playing "second fiddle" to other characters.

The actor - who can next be seen in 'Captain America: Civil War' as Lieutenant Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine, next month - added in an interview with Rolling Stones magazine: "My hat's off to Ewan, who, you know, didn't look at this role and go, 'It's like a second fiddle.' Or, 'I'm carrying Miles' water.'

"There were a few different journalists who did try to interview him during this time, but there were some real-world concerns we needed to deal with and that necessitated bringing the character in."

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