Ben-Adir, who played Malcolm X in Regina King's directorial debut, will now go on to play the legendary musician who brought reggae to the masses. Ben-Adir will be directed by King Richard's Reinaldo Marcus Green. Marley's family, including Ziggy, Rita, and Cedella Marley, will produce through the Marley production company Tuff Gong. Robert Teitel is also on as a producer.
Deadline reports that the search for the right actor to play Bob Marley was a year in the making, with Green and Paramount heads testing "dozens of actors."
Ben-Adir reportedly "began putting himself in pole position" for the spot before finally clinching the role.
Ben-Adir will not only be in the world of biopics again, but he’ll also be playing another influential Black notable who died at an early age. Marley died at 36 years old from cancer in 1981, according to Deadline. However, he became a music and cultural icon with his reggae hits and remains an influence on popular culture today.
The biopic has been a long time in the making; Shadow and Act reported on Paramount and Ziggy Marley teaming up on the biopic as early as 2018, with the news of Green coming on to direct in March 2021. Green gave a statement at the time about what it meant to him to direct a film about Bob Marley’s life.
“Bob Marley’s music lives on in all of us,” he said. “His lyrics transcend continents, color, creed, and generations of people. It heals. It fights. It bleeds love and truth. It’s a true honor and privilege to work with Ziggy and the Marley Family, and Paramount Pictures to bring this story to life…”Audiences want to know the real Bob, the man as well as the legend. I trust this film will bring us closer to understanding his journey, his music, and continue to carry the torch of his legacy with humility, grace, and most of all, love.”