Universal Pictures Intl. Entertainment has just acquired the Bob Marley documentary Marley, for all rights within the UK and Scandinavia. Lucky Red has picked up rights for Italy and Avalon Distribution has Spain. Magnolia Pictures previously acquired U.S. rights to the Shangri-La Entertainment/Tuff Gong Pictures production. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film is scheduled for theatrical release in North America and the UK on April 20th, then will roll out worldwide throughout the summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary year of Jamaican Independence. Macdonald, Rohan Marley and longtime Bob Marley collaborator Neville Garrick will be in Berlin to present the film on February 12th. Filming took place in Ghana, Japan and the UK as well as in Jamaica and the U.S. It’s the first time Marley’s family has authorized use of their private archives. Directors of photography include Alwin Kuchler and Mike Eley. The editor is Dan Glendenning.
Fortissimo Films has also sold South Africa (Nu Metro), Portugal (Lusomundo / Film & TV House), Germany & Austria (Studio Canal Germany), Poland (Best Film), France (Wild Side Films), Latin America (HBO Latin America Pan Regional Pay TV), Australia & New Zealand (Roadshow Films PTY Ltd), Benelux (E1), Middle East (Front Row) and Switzerland (Elite Film A.G.).
Kevin Macdonald has signed on to direct Marley, a film about the late activist reggae singer. On the docu front, Macdonald directed the Oscar winning One Day In September and Touching the Void. Marley is a coproduction between Tuff Gong Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment and was put together by Chris Blackwell and Steve Bing with full cooperation of Marley’s family. The pic will be released in fall, 2011, timed around the 30th anniversary of Marley’s death in 1981. Macdonald’s next film, the Roman era drama The Eagle, will be released February 11 by Focus with Channing Tatum and Jaime Bell starring.
EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Ash, the UK director who has been nominated for an Emmy for America – The Story of Us, is developing a biopic of reggae legend Bob Marley. Ash’s feature will concentrate on the year Marley spent living in London in 1977. This was a crucial year for Marley. He’d fled Jamaica after an attempt was made on his life; the year ended with him sustaining a soccer injury which eventually triggered full-blown cancer. It was the year of punk rock; in London Marley hung out with the Sex Pistols. It was also the year of his legendary Rainbow Theatre gig. Crucially, he also started an affair with Jamaican beauty queen Cindy Breakspeare, who had just been crowned Miss World. Ash tells me she sees the biopic as a love triangle between Marley, his wife Rita and Breakspeare, whom Ash has spent time with in Jamaica. “There’s never been a fiction film about Marley,” Ash tells me. “We’ve never had a sense of him as a real man, as opposed to the legend.”
Greenacre Films – Nadine Marsh Edwards (Bhaji On the Beach) and Amanda Jenks (An Englishman in New York) — is the production company. Ash is repped by Tally Garner at Curtis Brown.
One bump in the road ahead is that the filmmakers don’t have rights to the songs yet. Given Rita Marley’s antipathy to Cindy Breakspeare, that’s a big if. Other planned biopics of Janis Joplin and Marvin … Read More »