- British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir plays Bob Marley in Bob Marley: One Love and learned to sing and play guitar for the role.
- Ben-Adir stood out among the rest during the year-long, global casting search and was likely selected due to his resemblance, previous experience portraying real-life figures, and a vote of confidence from Bob Marley’s son, Ziggy Marley, who serves as a producer on the film.
- Before taking on the role of Marley, Ben-Adir appeared in notable films and TV shows, including Peaky Blinders, The OA, One Night in Miami, and Barbie.
Now that Bob Marley: One Love is finally here, it’s time to get to know the actor who plays Bob Marley in the musical biopic. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, Bob Marley: One Love is based on the true story of the legendary Jamaican artist’s rise to fame as a reggae pioneer and ambassador for peace and unity, up until his untimely death in 1981. The film chronicles his revolutionary journey and highlights pivotal moments of his life, including his early days playing with the Wailers, his solo career in the ’70s, and his battle with cancer.
The cast for Bob Marley: One Love includes James Norton as record producer and founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, and Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s wife. Of course, the most important casting decision was for Marley himself. It was crucial that whoever was cast as Marley could embody his essence and do him justice onscreen. After an extensive search to find the right actor to play the eponymous music legend in Bob Marley: One Love, one star managed to stand out among the rest and land the coveted role.
Bob Marley: One Love
hits theaters February 14, 2024.
Kingsley Ben-Adir Plays Bob Marley In Bob Marley: One Love
The British actor learned to sing and play guitar for the role of Bob Marley
In 2022, it was announced that British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir had officially been cast to play Bob Marley in Bob Marley: One Love. Ben-Adir spoke about playing Bob Marley in One Love and how he prepared for the role beforehand. “The process was about trying to learn and understand as much as I could about Bob’s experience as a child all the way through,” he shared. “In that way, you can start tapping into his psychology and thinking about what he went through.“
In addition to stepping into Marley’s shoes as a person, Ben-Adir also had to learn how to embody him as a musician. He learned how to sing and play guitar for the role and used his real singing voice while filming the performance scenes in Bob Marley: One Love (via Entertainment Weekly). The final product was a unique blend of both Ben-Adir and Marley’s vocals.
Where To Watch Bob Marley One Love: Showtimes & Streaming Status
The true story of Bob Marley’s life is the focus of a new movie, and here is where to watch Bob Marley: One Love with showtimes or on streaming.
Why Kingsley Ben-Adir Was Cast As Bob Marley
Ben-Adir stood out among the rest
To find their leading man for the then-untitled Bob Marley biopic, Paramount Pictures conducted an extensive search across the globe. Finally, after a yearlong audition and deliberation process, Ben-Adir was selected for the role. Several factors likely contributed to Ben-Adir getting cast in Bob Marley: One Love, including his resemblance to Marley. Ben-Adir was also able to nail the Jamaican native’s recognizable accent and cadence while speaking fluent Jamaican patois, a distinct dialect that he learned for the part.
Ben-Adir’s previous experience portraying notable, real-life figures onscreen likely factored into the decision to cast him as Bob Marley.
Another major factor in Ben-Adir’s casting was that he got the familial stamp of approval. Bob Marley’s eldest son, Ziggy Marley, who serves as a producer on the film, recognized certain qualities of his father in the actor which convinced him Ben-Adir was the right man for the job. “There’s a voice inside you what tell you the truth,” Marley told Variety. “You have to listen [to] that, and that was Kingsley.”
Ziggy’s older sister, Cedella Marley, and their mother, Rita, also serve as producers on
Bob Marley: One Love.
Ziggy’s wife, Orly, is an executive producer.
Ben-Adir’s previous experience portraying notable, real-life figures onscreen likely factored into the decision to cast him as Bob Marley, as well. In 2019, he took on the huge task of playing Malcolm X in Regina King’s One Night In Miami. The following year, he played Barack Obama in the Showtime miniseries The Comey Rule. Because of these past projects, Ben-Adir already understood the pressure of playing someone widely known like Marley and would’ve been able to navigate the public’s preconceptions and expectations more easily.
What Other Movies & Shows Has Kingsley Ben-Adir Been In
Ben-Adir has appeared in several notable TV shows and movies
Before depicting Bob Marley onscreen, Ben-Adir starred in a number of notable films and TV shows. Beginning as a prominent theater actor in London, Ben-Adir began making waves onscreen in the late 2010s. He played Colonel Ben Younger in seasons 4 and 5 of Peaky Blinders and Karim Washington in season 2 of The OA. He also played Russell “Mac” McCormack in Hulu’s short-lived TV adaptation of High Fidelity in 2020. His most recent TV role was playing Gravik, a Skrull rebel, in the MCU miniseries The Secret Invasion.
As for his movie roles, his award-winning role as Malcolm X in One Night In Miami is one of his better-known parts. He also starred in the 2019 Disney Christmas movie, Noelle. Most recently, Ben-Adir played one of the many Kens as part of the ensemble cast in 2023’s Barbie, which he filmed concurrently with Bob Marley: One Love. Ben-Adir’s career is sure to get a boost after Bob Marley: One Love, and it’ll be exciting to see what he does next.
Bob Marley: One Love
- Release Date
- February 14, 2024
- Reinaldo Marcus Green
- Kingsley Ben-Adir