The lowdown on BOB MARLEY – ONE LOVE

Biopics of legendary musicians are nothing new but, ‘Bob Marley – One Love’ doesn’t follow the traditional rags-to-riches format that follows a musician’s life story. Instead ‘King Richard’ director Reinaldo Marcus Green has chosen to focus on a pivotal year in Bob Marley’s life, that saw him survive an assassination attempt while attempting to unify the Jamaican nation with his One Love Peace concert back in 1978. ‘One Night in Miami’ star Kingsley Ben-Adir takes on the responsibility of playing Marley, one of the world’s most loved artists who became synonymous with the entire genre of reggae. Here we look at some facts behind the Jamaican legend & the new movie.


30 Years
Film-makers have been trying to make a Bob Marley movie for 30 years but haven’t been able to get the project off the ground. Legendary film-maker Oliver Stone proposed a biopic based on Rita Marley’s 2004 autobiography,’ No woman, no cry’, but the film collapsed when the JFK director couldn’t obtain the rights to certain Bob Marley songs.


The Wailers
In 1963, Marley and his friends Peter Tosh & Bunny Wailer started a ska band called The Teenagers, before changing their name to The Wailing Rudeboys, then The Wailing Wailers before finally settling for The Wailers. The young men spent much of their time listening to rhythm and blues on American radio stations, and used the word “wailers” as a reference to their social and economic position in the deprived area of Trenchtown.


Bob Marley played his one and only Irish gig at Dalymount Park in Phibsborough in the summer of 1980, which also turned out to be his last ever outdoor show.  Tickets for the event were £7 in shops and £8 at the gate. It was a generous rate for an international star who could easily pack out big arenas, but it was Marley’s request that fans be charged an affordable amount to attend the gig.


BOH’S Jersey
Aside from music, football was Marley’s major passion in life, and he surrounded himself with people from the sport. In 2022, Dublin football team Bohemian FC introduced a new kit that paid tribute to Marley’s final outdoor concert, which took place on the club’s pitch. Talking about the kit the club’s chief operating officer Daniel Lambert said that “Marley played football on the pitch and we do a lot of work with migrants, using football as a force for good, so we put a proposal together and the family agreed it could become a proper piece of history.”


Family Affair
The film is produced by Bob’s son Ziggy and widow Rita, who both wanted to capture a true vision of the man behind the legend. “Nobody can mimic Bob Marley” said Ziggy Marley about casting an actor to play his father. What leapt out about Ben-Adir’s audition is that he didn’t try to mimic. “Kingsley didn’t try to do that. What he was doing was an artistic interpretation of who Bob was” revealed Ziggy.


Three Rules
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green asked himself three questions before committing to making the Bob Marley film…. One – Could he use actual Bob Marley music in the film? Two – Did he have the family’s involvement? His previous film ‘King Richard about Venus & Serena Williams had full support of the family which helped with his film making. And finally – he needed to find Bob! “There was no way I could make this movie unless I found the right person” revealed the film-maker.


Jamaican Dialect
Kingsley Ben-Adir learned an entire new dialect to portray Marley on screen. He translated all of his lines in the script into authentic patois with a team of language specialists.


Playing Politicians
Kingsley Ben-Adir has played a number of prominent black figures on screen which helped him get the role of Marley. He had the distinction of inhabiting Barack Obama in TV drama ‘The Comedy Rule’ and he also played the iconic Malcolm X in the Oscar nominated ‘One Night In Miami’.


I’m Just Ken
Ben-Adir revealed he had his own dedicated Bob Marley area on the set of Barbie where he played Ken opposite Ryan Gosling. He called it “The Bob Station” it was behind Barbie’s slide in the room where the Kens watch ‘The Godfather’.  “I had a little desk in there which I’d sit between takes, practising the patois,” the actor revealed.


Marley Today
Bob Marley is still as popular today as he was in the 1970s. He has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, after Michael Jackson. The Jamaican star also ranks at number five on the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities, with his estate pulling in $20m in 2019 – more than the likes of Prince, and John Lennon. He raked in almost one billion streams in the US last year alone.


BOB MARLEY – ONE LOVE is at cinemas from Feb 14th