'Bob Marley always wanted to make a movie'
Son Ziggy says late reggae icon fancied creating a Western
Kingsley Ben-Adir (left) stars as reggae superstar Bob Marley.

A few hours after the global release of the Bob Marley One Love documentary film trailer on Thursday the late Jamaican reggae superstar's son, Ziggy, said his dad would have enjoyed the work that went into its production.

In fact, the 54-year-old singer, musician, songwriter, actor, and philanthropist told the Jamaica Observer that his world-famous father fancied creating a movie.

"The funny thing is that Bob always wanted to make a movie. He loved movies. He was a movie fan, so he would have enjoyed the process [to make the documentary]," Ziggy revealed.

Asked if the movie his father had wanted to make was about music, and with him in a starring role, Ziggy said, "He wanted to make a Western. He and his friends loved the movie world."

Ziggy Marley

Within 10 hours of its release the Bob Marley: One Love - Teaser Trailer chalked up more than seven million views on YouTube alone, while views on Twitter and Instagram stood at just under eight million combined, corroborating Ziggy Marley's declaration to the Observer that global response to the project has been overwhelming.

"From the response from Bob's fans on social media, which is where we released the trailer, everybody, 99.9 per cent of the people, excited, getting goosebumps, some people crying, it's just a tremendous response to the trailer," he said. "People didn't know what to expect, and some people were fearful that, 'Oh, dem a do a Bob ting, it better be right,' but now that dem get a taste of it dem know it right."

He, too, is very happy with the movie.

"We feel like it represents the legacy of Bob in a great way... And the authenticity, I feel good about it, and I am looking forward to people seeing it," he said.

Reinaldo Marcus Green, director of the biopic, was equally excited and spoke in glowing terms about British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir, who stars as Marley.

"We went through a very lengthy casting process, went everywhere that we could, and Kingsley's audition tape was phenomenal; he showed tremendous potential in that first audition tape that we saw... He had the essence of what we were looking for. Obviously, there's only one Bob Marley, so it was important for us to find somebody that can channel that essence, that spirit; and as a great actor should, and be able to do, that was what we saw in Kingsley. He's a tremendous talent and we can't wait for the world to see what he achieved," Marcus Green told the Observer.

The accolade is significant, given that Marcus Green, an American director, producer and writer has an impressive catalogue of films to his credit, among them Monsters and Men, Joe Bell, and King Richard, the biopic of Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams, which was nominated for Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards.

The Marley documentary, he said, was shot mostly in Jamaica, primarily in real locations such as Trench Town, where Marley lived, as well as National Heroes' Park in Kingston, where Marley staged the Smile Jamaica concert in December 1976 to quell political violence between the People's National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party.

The film also includes the April 1978 One Love Peace Concert held at the National Stadium in St Andrew amidst escalating political violence as Jamaica found itself at the centre of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

"We went to those locations and tried to recreate those spaces," Marcus Green said. "In London we shot in the real Oakley Street house where Bob lived. So we tried to go the extra mile when it came to the authenticity of the locations, the spaces, and, obviously, given that it's a period piece, some of those things needed to be created, but we had an incredible production designer in Chris Lowe, incredible cinematographer in Robert Elswit, who were able to capture the lighting, the spaces the designs to be able to replicate those things. We had true craftsmanship on this project that I think people will be very, very happy about. Any location where we couldn't shoot we had almost identical replicas of those locations created."

Ziggy Marley is also happy that the cast includes the offspring of some of the members of his father's band, The Wailers, among them the son of bass player Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who appears as his father. "Bunny Wailer's son is playing him, Junior Marvin's son is playing him, and most of the cast is Jamaican, so the culture is well represented," he told the Observer.

The movie, which is being produced in partnership with the Marley family, is scheduled for release next January.

Will it première in Jamaica?

"That's certainly the plan," said Marcus Green.

BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor — publications davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com

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