“The Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald’s epic-length documentary “Marley” (it clocks in at well over two hours) is the definitive look at the singular influence of Bob Marley in the realms of politics, music, and, of course, weed consumption. Fresh off of screening at SXSW and slated for digital and theatrical release on 4/20, the film went through a number of incarnations and directors (including Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme) before taking its current shape for its timely release.
Indiewire spoke with Marley’s son, the musician Ziggy Marley, who worked as Executive Producer on the film since day one.
Over the past two decades, there have been so many attempts to make a movie about Bob, sometimes as biopics, and now there is this documentary. So why did it happen now?
Everything just fall into place at the right time, you know what I’m saying? There is no basic reason of x, y, and z. The idea came up when it came up, and we acted on it, and it came out at this time, which I think is a perfect time. You know, it’s Jamaica’s fiftieth anniversary of independence, and Bobby is one of Jamaica’s greatest known persons, and those sort of great things aren’t planned. They just come together.
The film went through a number of different directors as well, so how do you think the movie might have been different without Kevin Macdonald?
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I just met him, and you know, we felt like he would be the right man for the job, because we watched his other movies. Then when we saw the first cut of the film, we knew for sure that this guy was telling the story the way that everyone would be happy with, especially the people who love Bob.
One thing I got out of the film that I didn’t really know about was Bob’s position as an international hero for the third world who used his position for political peace in Jamaica,. It left me wondering how the world would have been different if Bob hadn’t died so young.
You know, I don’t know if it be a matter of whether or not Bob is alive because his message was in his music and the music is still alive. And when I go all over the world, everyone, the people on the street and the prime ministers, tell me how important the music is to them and the people. And Bob is one of them people who never stopped being important, not just to people from Jamaica but to all the world, you know what I’m saying? I look at the world now and I don’t think there would be much change because as long as the world is still hearing the music everywhere you go in the world, it still have an impact.
What was the experience of showing the film at SXSW like? Oh, man, it was an amazing time, you know. The audience, you can tell they all love Bob, and they laugh and they cry and then afterwards the audience all stay to hear the music after the movie, so it was great for them.
The movie comes out on 4/20. Was that deliberate, or was that planned?
I don’t know, I guess it must have been deliberate, man. Of course, you know, marijuana was a big part of the movie and a big part of Bob’s life and his music, and my life, too. And more important, part of his message is to share with people about this natural resource, you know what I’m saying?
It’s a medicine and it is a spiritual thing for us and for everyone, and it’s the greatest plant in the world.