London actor Kingsley Ben-Adir has been cast as the legendary reggae singer Bob Marley after a year-long casting search that spanned the globe.
Not only that but Kingsley, 36, was anointed by Marley’s family, including his widow Rita, son Ziggy and daughter Cedella, who will co-produce the film about the man who turned reggae into a global phenomenon, writing and performing hits like One Love, Exodus, Buffalo Soldier and Could You Be Loved. He died from cancer at the age of 36 in 1981.
The Bob Marley biopic is being producer by Paramount Pictures and Deadline reports the role was one of the most sought-after parts in Hollywood. The producers and director Reinaldo Marcus Green saw ‘endless tests’ before Kingsley emerged as the frontrunner.
Kingsley is recognisable to UK audiences primarily for his long-running role in ITV detective drama Vera, playing pathologist Marcus Summers, and BBC One period gangland drama Peaky Blinders, in which he starred as army intelligence officer Colonel Ben Younger but was blown up by a car bomb.
Kingsley earned a best supporting actor nomination in 2021 for his performance as civil rights activist Malcolm X in One Night in Miami.
“One Night in Miami – Regina King, Malcom X – was the job that changed my life," he told Harpers Bazaar. “Just the way I look at the work and process the work; the experience was nothing like I've ever had so far."
Kingsley’s profile has also risen off the back of a two-season role in Netflix drama The OA, and for his short but powerful cameo performance as President Barack Obama in TV movie The Comey Rule. It’s also recently been announced that he is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing a villain in Secret Invasion opposite Samuel L Jackson.
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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