When the upcoming biopic of the late reggae legend Bob Marley was announced by the American studio Paramount Pictures last month, the news was met with both elation and fear by fans.
With the exception of Straight Outta Compton, which was both well-received and a box office hit, biopics of music icons have struck a bum note of late. The Tupac film All Eyez On Me took big numbers, but was savaged by critics and members of the late rapper’s family for being riddled with factual errors, while the James Brown biopic Get on Up was a box office flop despite being well-received by critics.
All these factors weighed in Ziggy Marley’s mind as he steers the yet to be titled film about his father. He says the time was right to tell the story of how his father, who passed away from cancer in 1981, became an influential figure through his brand of uplifting and socially conscious reggae that includes enduring staples Redemption Song and No Woman No Cry.
“There have been opportunities before where we said no because we were not ready, but at this time, I think, for me personally, I am mature enough to have a responsible point of view,” he told The National. “If we’re going to do a film about my father, then as his son and as a grown-up now, I feel like I can get it better. So we are in the process of trying to figure it out.” When it comes to growing up with the legend, Ziggy recalls how his father maintained a sense of ordinariness in the household.
“Being around him we knew what my father was, but it’s after his passing that his popularity grew even more and we have come to realise how huge he is,” he says.
“So when he was around, yes, people came around the house to visit, but he always carried himself normally. He never acted like he was some huge star.”