Ky-Mani Marley

KY-MANI Marley feels that he or any of his brothers could play a convincing Bob Marley in Paramount Pictures' upcoming biopic.

“Nuhbody cyaan play my father better than me; unless ah one ah mi bredda dem, yuh know wha' ah mean?” Marley, 45, told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday. “But Bob Marley being from Jamaica, why any of di children or grandchildren were never given di opportunity to even audition?”

Recently, Paramount Pictures named British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir to play the reggae king in a yet-to-be-titled biopic. The flick will be directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, best known for the Oscar-nominated King Richard based on Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams.

Rita Marley, Marley 's widow, as well as Ky-Mani's sister and brother, Cedella and Ziggy Marley, were named as producers.

Like Bob Marley, 35-year-old Ben-Adir has biracial parents. His mother is a black Trinidadian, while his father is a white Englishman.

His breakout role came as Malcolm X in the Regina King-directed movie One Night in Miami. His credits also include Netflix's The OA and British crime drama Peaky Blinders. Ben-Adir played President Barack Obama in Showtime's The Comey Rule.

“I'm not taking anything away from this British actor at all. All di credits to him same way, but why we couldn't find someone in Jamaica? There are so many talented actors and actresses in Jamaica, how come we didn't search that pool of actors there?” Ky-Mani asked.

“Not because it's Paramount mean yuh have to go out an' get a name actor. We can still go grass roots an' find someone who will embody dat part an' still give you exactly what you're supposed to get. An' before you know it, there's a new talent on di forefront. Dat is jus' my view,” he continued.

As for the Jamaican accent, Marley feels that is an essential component of his father, who died of cancer at age 36 on May 11, 1981.

“When you are doing a movie about a man weh di world know, di world know how him talk, di world know him take interview, di world know him persona. You cyaan go round dat. You cyaan put a man wid a different accent an' expect di world fi sey yuh do a great job. No!”

What are the characteristics that embody Bob Marley?

“Is jus' dat revolutionary spirit. Dat love for people, but also dat fire dat burns inside dat willing to go at any extent to make sure di messages relate; naah back down, naah dress back. Jus' full forward, Rasta, di livity,” declared Ky-Mani, who is no stranger to acting.

He starred in the cult classic movie Shottas (2002) alongside Spragga Benz and Paul Campbell, as well as One Love (2001). He has written six screenplays and is currently in the final production stages of Vendetta, a movie he directed and wrote. It is slated for release this year.

Musically, Ky-Mani Marley has released seven albums, including Like Father, Like Son, which came out in 1996. Maestro, his previous solo album, was released in 2015.

He is one of the people behind Maestro Marley Cup Festival slated for Hollywood Arts Park in Hollywood, Florida, on March 5. Ky-Mani, his siblings Damian, Stephen, and Julian; Yellowman; Jesse Royal; Lila Ike; Safaree; and Maja Hype are also billed for the show.

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto & Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

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