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Rohan Marley Says No Actor Can Play Bob Marley In A Movie... Except His Sons

by Courtney
February 12, 2012 2:36 PM
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The long struggle to get a Bob Marley film made has been well documented on Shadow And Act (I recommend reading this post for the details: What we have ended up with after all that is Kevin Macdonald's documentary MARLEY, which will world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this month.

The film which they're calling the definitive film on Marley's life was made in full cooperation with the Marley family and ahead of its Berlin premiere screening, Rohan Marley, one of the reggae legend’s 11 children, said during a news conference in Berlin that any fiction feature film made about his father will be "uncastable" because no actor he can think of has the ability to embody his father.

Except his sons.

He said: "My father was not just a man, but a spirit dancer. You have to come with that vibration and it is not something you can act. In Jamaica, when you are a light skin, you are the outcast. To play my father, his struggles and how he overcame it all, would require you to bring tears to my eyes. It has to be one of his sons. And we're not, none of us, in Hollywood."

And Kevin Macdonald added his own $.02 saying that "not even the great Will Smith would find it an easy task."

No offense to Will Smith but I wouldn't put the wors "great" and Will Smith" in the same sentence. I don't think even Will Smith would. I'm talking about his acting only which is what I think Macdonald was refering to. And I definitely cannot see Will Smith as Bob Marley anyway.

But I found Rohan Marley's comments interesting. I wasn't there so I don't know if he said those things sarcastically or if he was being very serious.

But I will agree to a point that I don't know if any known black actor working today can really pull off the role convincingly. Can you?

In the posts that documented the struggles to get a film about Bob Marley made, there's mention that at one time back in the late 1990s, Rohan Marley was going to star as Bob Marley in a film on the father's life, and Lauryn Hill was to play Rita Marley. That never materialized. And then in 2006 Jamie Foxx, which I find mindblowing, was to star as Bob Marley in another project that never went anywhere. And since then there have been other projects that got buried but each didn't have casting announced so we won't know who was being considered for those.

I will say that I'm glad the Jamie Foxx film never took off because I can't see him in the role, no disrespect. 

But what do you think? Do you think only Marley's sons are capable of playing their father in a movie or is Rohan Marley wrong? Who would you cast?

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  • Pj loko | July 22, 2014 2:20 AMReply

    JAMES FRANCO!!! (Been saying this for years)

  • KNiecey | June 19, 2014 12:19 AMReply

    There's a Dominican-American actor named Victor Rasuk that would be perfect. he's not Jamaican, but has a good patois for West Indian accents. Refer to the movie "Haven" from 2004/05 with Orlando Bloom.

  • talunkwan | January 30, 2014 4:30 PMReply

    James franco

  • Franklin Marley ;) | September 29, 2013 9:22 PMReply


  • Stephano | November 20, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    I agree wit Rohan.

  • valentino | November 14, 2012 1:58 AMReply

    Sorry wasn't done my phone took a shit on me I was at saying sorry Rohan but your wrong Lou could def do it I also think that several Marley children could pull off different times in his life would be great and tho a couple Marley children definitely sound like him in there own way I think Stephen sounds like him most no doubt by far ki_mani close second but Stephen should do the singing maybe kimani and ziggy can take some load off Stephen and fill in a lil but Lou diamond Phillips trust me when I say it would work he has the complection skin tone cheek bones perfect look and makeup some dreads and its a wrap!

  • valentino | November 14, 2012 1:50 AMReply

    Your all wrong Lou diamond Phillips looks like bob check out some old pics of bob I know it sounds crazy but I been into bob since I was a young kid I'm 36 now and I saw a pic of bob and still see it today and I thought he looked so much like Lou I was amazed and still see it when I see the pic and although its a young bob pic that the resemblance is undeniable with great makeup he could pull off old and young bob I feel it always have and I live bob everyday so I'm not just talking shit and Lou no offense but a lil weight loss for the young bob would be need and ppl look at one of the best biopics ever la bamba and u know he is a great actor just never got credit he deserved sadly but he would put his heart and soul into it guaranteed and I Lo e ya Rogan but

  • U silly | December 18, 2012 7:44 PM

    Ps with a heavy Jamaican accent. Not Spanish lol

  • U silly | December 18, 2012 7:42 PM

    Lou diamond Phillips is Latino. Silly. And looks nothing like bob. Bob is half black and white. So a light brown blk man or bi racial man need to play bob.

  • Carrie Barr | May 3, 2012 5:22 PMReply

    I think ky-mani would be able to stand in those shoes to play a role As his father

  • Mushiya | April 25, 2012 8:21 AMReply

    I can see Ky-mani in the role. Ky-mani has a reach that is real. I think he could feel the role without a doubt. His life has not been easy growing up and I feel without a doubt, he could pull it off.

  • bc budz | April 4, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    Can't read your article without Elmo popping up, Jack ass move on ur behalf

  • DebinBrooklyn | March 29, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    I only feel Ky-mani doing it.

  • christine bodden | March 21, 2012 5:49 PMReply

    him are the legend of the regga

  • doranda | March 10, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    The actor needing to feel the spirit of the dance is a very strong argument. I would not like to see anyone who really couldn't get into it.

  • JamaicanRose | March 2, 2012 5:37 PMReply

    Ky-Mani has the vibes and could easily portray him dad so could Ziggy, but Ky-Mani more.

  • Ash | February 13, 2012 2:03 PMReply

    I'm soured on Rohan Marley after witnessing his "relationship" with Lauryn Hill so if he's suggesting someone should offer him the part, I'd have to pass.

  • donovan | February 12, 2012 7:47 PMReply

    RI agree only his son can act like the real thing

  • G-Ladi | February 12, 2012 7:21 PMReply

    No one can play Bob. Absolutely no one. I personally don't think that anyone can pull this off.

  • amilcar | February 12, 2012 7:10 PMReply

    only Kymani Marley can play Bob. Period. He has the acting skills to do so. Anybody else and I don't want to see it.

  • Dazza | February 12, 2012 6:58 PMReply

    Actually, there's an actor named Ashley Walters, who I saw in the BBC One televison drama titled Small Island. It's from 2009 and well worth the watching, but I thought of him playing Bob Marley almost immediately and wondered why noone had gone after him. here's a short video interview with him:

  • everyman | March 13, 2012 7:39 PM

    You cant be serious! Walters as Marley, Walters cant act, wooden at best, one expression, rubbish, an insult to the great man! Idiototic post!

  • Margo | February 12, 2012 4:44 PMReply

    I agree there's no known Hollywood actor that could play Bob Marley but is the role uncastable? No...I dont believe that...yeah no one in Hollywood looks anything like him. Not to mention, Bob was a Jamaican through and through, so the accent and the cultural mark would have to be on point. I am pretty sure there is an actor out there that can play Bob, it's just he aint in Hollywood right and THAT is okay, so long as he does the part and Marley's legacy justice then who cares if he's making 10 mill or 10 thousand lol As for his sons playing him, no thanks! We don't need you re-enacting your father, that's not acting lol

  • Boomslang | February 12, 2012 6:00 PM

    Margot that's why make department are there fore. Merille Streep just won a Bafta for her portrayal as Marguerite Thatcher and she looked nothing like her. Her performance was on point. Did Forrest whitaker look like Idi Amin dada ? uh.. no.

    Rohan is as talented as Ke$ha , he is no actor. An actual actor has got to get the part.

  • FilmGuy | February 12, 2012 3:53 PMReply

    No known actor can do it. No one resembles him and fake accents would just throw off the whole vibe. Maybe they should look to Jamaica or other islands for that unknown soul, well versed in the culture and the music.

  • mantan | February 12, 2012 2:51 PMReply

    you'd have to get a unknown to do it that has no hollywood baggage or has already been typecast.

    any great actor can bring anybody's story to life, bob marley's life is no exception.

    looks like we might have to wait till his sons die before a movie about his life is allowed to be made though the way they're talking.

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