Kingsley Ben-Adir Talks Being Chosen Over Jamaican Actors and Difficulty of Capturing Bob Marley’s Talk and Look – Watch Interview

During an interview, British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir discussed portraying Jamaican music legend Bob Marley in his newly released biopic and being chosen over Jamaican actors for the role.

Marley’s biopic, Bob Marley: One Love, was released on Wednesday, and Ben-Adir has received praise for his portrayal of Marley both from Bob Marley fans abroad and locally. Jamaican Dancehall artistes and media personalities Tami Chin and Wayne Marshall declared that the actor embodied Marley during their review of the film.

However, Ben-Adir has continued to receive criticism from some who do not believe he should have received the role of the Jamaican icon. During a recent interview on the Breakfast Club, Ben-Adir discussed in detail what it was like to prepare for the role and capture the essence and emotions of Marley on film.

He expressed that the process of transforming into Marley took a lot of hard work and required a large team to assist him. The actor, who does not have locks, highlighted the importance of capturing Marley’s well-known look. He also recalled telling the team to make sure they spent as much money as they needed to to get it right.

According to Ben-Adir, capturing Marley’s look and speech were the most difficult parts of portraying the reggae singer. Noting the complexity of Jamaican patois and Marley’s unique manner of speaking, Ben-Adir shared that multiple specialists and Jamaican linguists were on set to assist the non-Jamaican cast members.

Kinsley Ben-Adir

Despite the difficulties of understanding the dialect, he said he felt that capturing Marley’s speech was the one thing he had complete control over. Ben-Adir said that while the music and look were mainly the responsibility of other departments, it was solely up to him how well that aspect of Marley turned out, so it was very important.

“His voice and how he spoke, and the authenticity of that—it’s like the whole culture is in the way that Bob talks. The way he speaks has to be reflected. There can be no dumbing down of it; there’s no whitewashing it,” Ben-Adir stated.

The actor went on to express that he was initially apprehensive about playing the role but felt reassured because of the Marley family’s involvement in the project. During the interview, Ben-Adir revealed that there was a point before filming when he considered leaving. However, being around the people who knew Marley lessened those fears.

Ben-Adir also shared that while Skip Marley had auditioned to play a young Marley, it did not work out, and Ziggy Marley did not want to play his father. Noting that he is also critical when it comes to casting an actor outside of the nationality of the actual person, Ben-Adir highlighted that the biopic had the full approval of the family.

He further stated that the most important thing when it comes to casting is that everybody is presented with an opportunity.

“The first question is: has everyone had an opportunity to audition? Has everyone who should had an opportunity to put their foot in the door where they get to put their best self forward?” Ben-Adir questioned before answering himself by highlighting that others got the opportunity as well to do auditions.

Watch the interview below.

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