Bob Marley Biopic Casts Kingsley Ben-Adir In Lead Role

According to THR, "Peaky Blinders" and "The OA" star Kingsley Ben-Adir has been tapped to play legendary singer-songwriter Bob Marley in an upcoming biopic for Paramount. This won't be Ben-Adir's first time playing a historically significant figure, as he gained critical renown for his portrayal of civil rights activist Malcolm X in "One Night in Miami." (He also played President Barack Obama in the CBS miniseries "The Comey Rule.") Ben-Adir's casting is the last big piece of the Marley biopic puzzle, joining both the writer and director of the Oscar-nominated "King Richard," who previously signed on.  

"King Richard" director Reinaldo Marcus Green will helm the biopic from a screenplay by "King Richard" writer Zach Baylin. "King Richard," which stars Will Smith as the father of superstar tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, was recently nominated for best picture at the 2022 Oscars. Marley's surviving family, including Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley, and Cedella Marley, will produce the biopic on behalf of Tuff Gong. Robert Teitel will also produce.

Bringing a Reggae Legend to Life

Marley was a massive musical success who introduced reggae to much of the world with his hits like "Get Up, Stand Up," "One Love," "Could You Be Loved," "No Woman, No Cry," and "Buffalo Soldier." In addition to his musical fame, Marley became known as one of the foremost practitioners of Rastafarianism. In Jamaica, he was seen as a prophet and poet, representing a minority population that had been targeted over the years. Tragically, Marley died at the age of 36 from cancer that had spread throughout most of his body. 

The reggae icon is well-loved, and hopefully the inclusion of his family members as producers means the film will be tackled with love and honesty. Paramount did well with "Rocketman," an Elton John biopic that starred Taron Egerton as the British musician, and the studio is currently developing a Bee Gees biopic with plans for Kenneth Branagh to direct. 

Ben-Adir has shown he has the chops to play characters with major historical impacts, embodying them and shedding all traces of himself. I look forward to seeing what he can do with such a meaty role, and can't wait to groove along to the music when this biopic eventually debuts. Until then, fans can check out the documentary "Marley" for free on Kanopy with a library card, or just listen to "No Woman, No Cry" until the neighbors knock the door down.