EXCLUSIVE: Following a lengthy search, Paramount has tapped King Richard’s Reinaldo Marcus Green to direct its Bob Marley movie for the studio. Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley and Cedella Marley will produce on behalf of Tuff Gong. Robert Teitel will also produce.
Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 at age 36 but in that short lifetime he changed the landscape of music, introducing generations to reggae with such hit songs as “Get Up, Stand Up,” “One Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Could You Be Loved,” “Buffalo Soldier,” “Jammin” and “Redemption Song.”
“Bob Marley’s music lives on in all of us. His lyrics transcend continents, color, creed, and generations of people. It heals. It fights,” said Green. “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 his 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 and grace, and most of all, love.”
Paramount Motion Picture Group president Emma Watts is no stranger to biopics revolving around musical icons, as she played a big part in getting the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody out the gate when she was president of production at then-20th Century Fox. That film went on to gross more then $900 million at the worldwide box office and win four Oscars including Best Actor for Rami Malek.
When Watts was officially named Paramount Pictures president, finding the right director for the untitled Marley biopic became a priority. After meeting with several candidates, Green would eventually blow all parties away with his vision of the film.
“I am very excited to be hands-on in working to dive deeper into sharing the legacy of who our father Bob Marley is,” said Ziggy Marley. “It’s an incredible responsibility that we take on with Reinaldo and the team at Paramount to tell the story of our father in a way that truly honors him and will also entertain, enlighten, uplift and inspire his fans and audiences around the world. It’s like opening a window that has never been open before.”
After winning the Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival for his film Monsters and Men, Green became one of the industries more sought-after directors while also catching the eye of Will Smith. Smith and Warner Bros would quickly tap Green to direct their biopic King Richard, which revolves around the father of Serena and Venus Williams. The film bows later this year and expected to be a major player in the 2022-23 award season.
He also recently directed Joe Bell, which stars Mark Wahlberg and premiered at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival. He also directed the first three episodes of the Netflix reboot Top Boy as well as the Netflix series Amend: Fight For America with Smith exec producing and narrating.
Green is repped by WME and attorney Andres Des Rochers of Granderson Des Rochers who did the director’s deal for the Marley movie.