Bob Marley Biopic “One Love” Is Coming Soon

Whether you’re a fan or not of reggae music, there’s hardly a soul who has never heard the name “Bob Marley.” The Jamaican singer and songwriter died of cancer at the age of 36 in 1981 but left a deep legacy of music and cultural influence. On February 14, 2024, moviegoers and fans will have the chance to see Marley’s life acted out on film in One Love, which also happens to be the title of his iconic song.

The film stars British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley and traces the musician’s life with a keen focus on the 70s when Marley survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica, forcing him to flee to London. Speaking of Ben-Adir, One Love director Reinaldo Marcus Green said, “He lost a significant amount of weight – among many other deep character dives. Kingsley’s not a small guy, he’s bigger than me and that’s pretty big. He certainly got thin.”

Green added, “He worked on patois, but not just generic patois, but Bob’s specific patois, which is a language in and of itself. So he had extreme preparation for the film. He really went very deep in trying to understand Bob, to create a portrait of him. Kingsley’s dedication to the craft is second to none. Kingsley has incredible stage and film presence. He certainly showed in his (audition) tape that making a Bob Marley film was possible.”

For eight months, the actor learned how to play the guitar, sing, and dance, and watched hundreds of hours of videos of Marley singing and talking.

Although Marley popularized reggae music around the world, he was also a strong advocate for peace, and topics like hope, dignity, poverty, and oppression were threaded throughout his classic hits like “Could You Be Loved,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “Get Up, Stand Up.”

Marley and his friends formed The Wailing Wailers in 1965 before becoming Bob Marley & The Wailers. Their big break came in 1972 after landing a contract with Island Records. The father of 11 children would go on to sell millions of records, making him the first international superstar to emerge from a so-called developing country.

Born to a black mother and a white father, Marley also shared a half-sister with Wailers’ bandmate Bunny Wailer. In 1976, Marley, Rita, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside his home. Shortly afterward, he relocated to England where he spent two years in self-imposed exile. While there, Marley recorded the albums Exodus and Kaya. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks and included the hit singles: “Exodus,” “Jamming,” “Waiting in Vain,” and “One Love.”

In making the movie, Green collaborated with Marley’s widow, Rita, along with their children Ziggy, Stephen, and Cedella as well as others including Bob Marley’s friend, Neville Garrick, who passed away in November.

One Love also stars Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley and opens in theaters on Valentine’s Day.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo: Bob Marley, 1980 (ETH Bibliothek Zürich via Wikimedia Commons)

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2 comments on “Bob Marley Biopic “One Love” Is Coming Soon

  1. John Smistad

    A MUST see. & too long in coming…

  2. Very much looking forward to this.

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