Ziggy Marley confirms that the highly anticipated Bob Marley biopic filming wrapped in Jamaica and will cover the singer’s life from 1976-1978, a period in his life when a lot of changes took place. He is also praising the actors who play Bob and Rita, Kingsley Ben Adir and Lashana Lynch, respectively.
Ziggy Marley, who executive produced the film with his sister Cedella Marley and their mother Rita Marley, shared some bits about the movie during an interview on Irie FM Radio on Sunday. The Grammy-winner spoke about a wide range of topics, including upcoming music and his recent Children’s Book. He also touched on what most of us considered the most important Bob Marley film of all time.
“We just finished the movie,” Ziggy said while admitting that the movie is not yet titled. “Not titled yet, but the life story a me fadda [and] me madda too. The foundation of it is from 1976 to 1978 from the assassination attempt to the return to the one Love Concert.”
Ziggy noted that they, the executive producers, chose that part of the reggae icon’s life because it was perhaps the most active part of his illustrious career from 1976-1978. Bob Marley survived a brazen assassination attempt at his home in Kingston on December 3, 1976. The singer, his wife, Rita Marley, and his manager Don Taylor, were also seriously injured in the attack, but everyone survived. At the time, the gun attack was believed to be politically motivated. Interestingly, the shooting took place two days before Marley was slated to perform at the Smile Jamaica benefit concert in Kingston. The free concert was organized to help calm political tension in the 1976 election season.
During that period, two well-known political gangsters, Aston “Bucky” Marshall and Claudius Massop, formed alliances with the two political parties, the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP, and the People’s National Party, PNP, with Bucky aligning with the PNP and Claudius with the JLP. The two notorious enforcers in that volatile period in Jamaica’s history will also be featured in the film, as well as the political leaders at the time, Edward Seaga, the then leader of the JLP, and Michael Manley, head of the PNP.
“Bucky and Claudie deh deh,” Ziggy said. “It’s a history lesson fi a lot a the youths them now in a Jamaica. Dem wi get a likkle history. Manley and Seaga deh in a it.”
Urban Islandz reported last year that British actors Kingsley Ben Adir and Lashana Lynch, who is of Jamaican descent, were cast in the lead roles of Bob and Rita Marley. At the time, the casting sparked some controversies among Jamaicans who thought that the roles should’ve been given to Jamaican actors. Ziggy Marley is now letting it be known that they both did a phenomenal job in the movie, set for release on January 12, 2024.
“The actor is Ben Adir; he is an English man but him really did a good job,” the “Love Is My Religion” singer said. “Lashana Lynch, she is another phenomenal actor that we have in it; she plays my madda.”
Ziggy Marley says the rest of the casts are pretty much all Jamaicans, with some children of some famous names making the casts, including sons of Ras Michael, Family Man, Junior Marvin, Bunny Wailer, and Chinna Smith.
Last year some Marley fans criticized the casting of Kingsley Ben Adir due to his lack of musical skills. However, the film’s director Reinaldo Marcus Green defended the casting saying that Ben Adir was impressive during his audition for the role. Green is the director behind the hugely successful Venus and Williams father’s biopic movie, King Richard.
“I was more interested in his acting. The same way that I approached King Richard, the two young actresses that play Venus and Serena [Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton] had no sports capabilities whatsoever. It’s about being great actors – and then training,” Green said.
In December, Ben Adir was spotted on the set of the film in London looking a lot like Bob Marley. Perhaps those images helped to calm some of the concerns of fans.
Bob Marley’s children, particularly Ky-Mani Marley, have also previously shared their interest in wanting to play the role of their father in the movie. “Di authenticity, di whole energy, di vibe, everything. Who better to play him than me?” Ky-Mani said.
The Bob Marley biopic was filmed in two parts, in London and in Jamaica. The film crew were spotted in Trench Town last month filming roles. Trench Town was where Bob Marley called home when he first arrived in Kingston as a young boy in the mid-1950s.
Following his assassination attempt, Bob fled to England, where he spent two years recording his Exodus album. Much of the film will also cover the Exodus period, including making the classic album. He returned to Jamaica in 1978 for the One Love Peace concert at the National Stadium in Kingston on April 22, 1978.
Michael Manley, Bob Marley, and Edward Seaga holding hands at the One Love Peace concert at Jamaica’s National Stadium, on April 22, 1978.
During the three days of filming the biopic in Kingston, the famous political scene in 1978 showing Bob Marley bringing together political rivals Edward Seaga and Michael Manley on stage at National Heroes Park to join hands was also filmed.
Bob Marley Biopic is set for premiere on January 12, 2024, courtesy of Paramount.