Beenie Man Says One Of Bob Marley’s Sons Deserved Lead Role In Paramount Biopic

King of the Dancehall Beenie Man is insisting that one of Bob Marley’s sons, or grandson Skip, should have been the natural choice for the titular role in the Bob Marley: One Love biopic.

During a recent interview with Billboard, Beenie Man was prompted to share his thoughts on the representation of Caribbean legends in cinema. He remarked, “Bob Marley have over five sons that coulda play Bob Marley, cause alla dem look like him. But dem decide fi use somebody else. Really don’t make no sense,” Beenie Man said.

The Paramount Pictures film, which is set for release in January 2024, covers the life of Bob Marley, spanning the years 1976 to 1978.

“Well, it’s a Bob Marley movie. Mi wait till mi can get it inna my circle. But, I think dem shoulda use Skip Marley, who is the last Marley. Or use Stephen Marley or Ziggy Marley or Julian Marley. But Bob Marley a Bob Marley. If you make a movie about Bob Marley, everybody wan see it,” the Simma artist added.

His sentiments echo the widespread disappointment expressed by Jamaicans last February, when British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir was announced as the man to play the role of Marley, with many arguing that Marley would not have approved of a “fake Rasta” wearing a wig or extensions representing him.

Kingsley Ben-Adir in character as the late Reggae legend Bob Marley, while filming the ‘Bob Marley: One Love’ biopic in London, England, earlier this year.

They also argued that one of his many sons or grandsons, ought to have been selected, among them his Trelawny-born singer/actor son Ky-Mani Marley, who had said that playing the role of his father would be the “dream role” of his acting career and that he would be perfect for the role, considering his acting experience and lineage.  Barring that, they also said there was an extensive list of competent Jamaican actors who could play the Small Axe singer.

A significant concern was Ben-Adir’s ability to capture the nuances of the Jamaican culture and the Patois language. Given his mixed heritage — son of a white English father and a mother whose parents were from Trinidad and Tobago — many feared his portrayal might come across as inauthentic, reminiscent of past foreign actors who struggled to convincingly play Jamaican roles.

Ky-Mani Marley

The film is being executive-produced by Marley’s widow Rita, his daughter Cedella, and his eldest son Ziggy on behalf of Tuff Gong, the music label and studio that was established by Bob back in 1970.

A week ago, Ziggy shared a photo of himself and the film’s director Reinaldo Marcus Green together, taking what he said was a break from editing the film.

“Director Reinaldo Marcus Green and I reasoning during a break from editing the Bob Marley bio pic, JAH,” he captioned the post.

Ziggy had said last year that the film would pay homage to his father “in a manner that has never been undertaken before” and would tell Bob’s story “in a way that truly honours him and will also entertain, enlighten, uplift and inspire his fans and audiences around the world.”

In June this year, Cedella Marley had admitted in a Television Jamaica interview that the success of the biopic rests heavily on lead actor Kingsley Ben Adir’s portrayal of the late Reggae icon.

In appeasing her compatriots and implicitly addressing the contention over Ben-Adir’s casting, she had noted that the cast of the biopic was very diverse and had “a lot of Jamaicans in there.”

“We have a lot of children of some of the icons in there, like Family Man Junior, who plays Family Man.  Junior Marvin Jr plays Junior Marvin; Naomi Cowan plays Marcia Griffiths.  And so we were very happy that we were able to have at least 98 percent of the cast being Jamaican,” she had said in a Television Jamaica interview.

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