A new documentary on the life of Bob Marley is due for release on the all-too-appropriate date of April 20th. Released by Magnolia Pictures and directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film will be released simultaneously in theaters, digitally, and through video on demand.
Titled “Marley,” the two hour and twenty-four minute film will also include a disc containing previously unseen concert footage, an interview with Stephen Marley that did not make the cut, a twenty-minute interview with Bunny Wailer, and twenty minutes of people expressing their thoughts on the impact of Marley and his music.
Macdonald, who directed “The Last King of Scotland” and numerous documentaries, decided to take on the project only after the Marley family agreed to allow him to shoot and edit the film as he saw fit. Macdonald recalls a horrible experience he had working on a documentary with Mick Jagger a decade ago.
“I once made a film, about 10 years ago, with Mick Jagger,” Macdonald told Billboard. “I followed him around for six months with a little camera. In the end his company was financing the movie and we disagreed about the cut. It was not a happy experience for me so I didn’t want to get into that situation again. I was very clear and they were very clear that I would make the film I wanted to make. I would listen to what they have to say but I had to have editorial control.”
Martin Scorsese was originally scheduled to direct, but couldn’t fit it into his schedule. Next in line was Jonathan Demme, but the Marley family disagreed with the direction he wanted to take the film.
It would soon fall into the hands of Macdonald, and he believes “Marley” will be a huge success.
“I’m a movie person. I know what makes a good movie is taking that ride… laughter and the tears. When I saw the first cut, we were on the right track.”
Marley’s first-born, Ziggy, is right on board with Macdonald.
“On some stuff I gave my opinion, but Kevin override and I say OK because I trust Kevin,” says Marley. “He’s a director, I’m not. I did my little part to get him access (to people in Jamaica).”
But after watching a three-hour cut of the film that was still in the editing process, Marley offered one piece of sound advice.
“I said don’t take out the sad stuff, because that’s the stuff you really feel deep inside of you.”
No release date for the DVD has been announced, but a two-CD and three-LP soundtrack will be available April 17th.