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Don Cheadle to star in movie about Wall Street’s first black millionaire

Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Don Cheadle is reuniting with his Miles Ahead screenwriter on a new biopic, Empire Online reports. The Captain America: Civil War actor, who played Miles Davis in the 2015 film he also directed, has signed on to lead an adaptation of Shane White’s Prince Of Darkness: The Untold Story Of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire. Cheadle will star as Hamilton, a Haitian immigrant who made a fortune as a broker and land agent in 19th-century New York. Steven Baigelman will write the film, which has yet to land a director.

Hamilton was a calculating businessman, buying up land at fractions of the cost in the wake of the Great Fire of New York. He even butted heads with Cornelius Vanderbilt at one point. Hamilton was alternately described as the first or only black millionaire on Wall Street, and his success didn’t go over well with his white contemporaries, who called him the “Prince of Darkness” when they weren’t uttering more obvious slurs. The racism became much more overt in 1863, when some men showed up at his home—which he shared with his white wife—to lynch him during the New York City draft riots. She successfully turned them away. At the time of his death, Hamilton was known as the richest black man in America.


It’s easy to see how this could all be crafted into a great biopic, and we’re sure all this talk of an enterprising Hamilton won’t in any way get confused with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s cultural juggernaut. But Cheadle’s probably already working on the score/soundtrack.

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