Marleys want ‘authentic’ Jamaican for paramount role in biopic

Cedella Marley
Cedella Marley participates in the Q&A panel at the Marley Brunch with Marley Family Members at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in West Hollywood, Calif.
Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Now that Paramount Pictures has greenlit a biopic focusing on reggae legend Bob Marley, chosen a director and lead actor, family spokesperson and executive producer and eldest offspring Cedella announced casting details which will be held at the home of her father and that only Jamaicans need apply.

“As much as Bob Marley is a global icon with a universal message, his roots are entrenched in Jamaica. His connection to Jamaica, beginning as a young boy in the hills of St Ann, remains an inspiration and a dream, Cedella said, “We are devoting our attention to ensuring it is authentic with significant Jamaican participation.”

The family spokesperson made the statement after announcing a number of requirements necessary to be considered for any of the roles.

She said a Jamaican casting director was already retained and only authentic Jamaicans will be hired.

To fill the roles of the reggae legend before he became a household name, boys aged five to eight years of age as well as those nine to 12 should consider responding to the casting call.

Also open are roles requiring girls seven to 10 and 11-13 to portray young Rita Anderson, the girl who became Marley’s bride. Another opening will cast female singers between the ages of 20 and 30. The ideal individual suited for the role will be able to exhibit musical talent therefore a “strong Black, female, lead must be able to sing. It’s a plus.”

Although producers have already casted Kingsley Ben-Adir to fill the adult lead role to portray the legend, a mixed race male lead is needed to fill the period when he was eight to 13 and 14 to 25.

Once again “this individual should also have singing ability, the plus is that he should also have the ability to play soccer.”

Ben-Adir, a British actor who starred in “One Night In Miami” is of English and Trinidad & Tobago heritage.

Other roles available invite local musicians and actors with “outgoing personality and acting capacity.”

Those interested should send headshots plus a full length photo and a brief description of any singing or acting experience to [email protected]

“We view this project as a continuation of the tremendous and unending mission of sharing our father’s commitment to the truth and to spreading love and oneness as he did during his time with us, and we’re very excited to be in this phase,” David “Ziggy” Marley concurred.

As co-executive producer with his sister, mother Rita and Robert Teitel, the eldest son of the legend endorsed the decision to cast Ben-Adir in the lead role.

Reportedly, Rastafarians on the island criticized the choice for the lead saying Marley might have been offended by the choice of any individual other than a Jamaican national. Although Ben-Adir won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Malcolm X, voices of dissent railed against his ability to deliver an authentic Rastafarian, Jamaican.

To that, film Director Reinaldo Marcus Green responded why he chose an actor as opposed to a musician to play the role of Bob Marley.

The Academy award winning filmmaker pointed to the fact that Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, whom he chose to play the roles of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams in the movie “King Richard” had “no sporting capabilities whatsoever.”

“It’s about being great actors – and then training,” Green explained.

“Then it’s about performance and ideas. He’s never going to be able to play like Bob in the time that he has to prepare for the role.  But he can immerse himself in the world of Bob and folks around him, understanding everything from how to hold the guitar to what it’s like being a musician and activist.”

“Right now we don’t know how much Kingsley will actually sing,” Green added. “There might be a combination of real voice and the real tracks. You can’t mimic Bob Marley. You have to have an essence of who he was.”

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