By Ron Deutsch
Documentary.org, April 2012
Since Bob Marley's untimely death at the age of 36 from cancer in 1981, there have been numerous film projects announced. They have included unproduced narrative films--one to star Jamie Foxx, and another written by Lizzie Borden (Working Girls)--as well as several documentaries that ran in theaters and aired on television. The history of the upcoming Marley began in 2008 when Martin Scorsese announced he would be working with the Marley family; the film was originally slated to be released in February 2010 to coincide with Marley's 65th birthday. Scorsese bowed out shortly thereafter and Jonathan Demme was then in the director's chair, with the same announced release date. Demme apparently came very close to completing his film, but told Spinner in September 2009, "Profound creative differences emerged in the course of the editing. I ended up with a film I adore but unfortunately my love is not shared by the people who paid for it. So we have all got our heads together to find the most positive way to deal with that impasse. I hope we do because I loved making it."
But that impasse was never passed. Fast forward to February 2011, when it was announced that director Kevin Macdonald had started over with a new documentary on the life of the Reggae star. In addition to his Academy Award-winning films One Day in September and The Last King of Scotland, Macdonald has made documentaries on the famous, the infamous and the obscure--from silent film villain Eric Campbell to real life Nazi villain Klaus Barbie; and from British documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings to American documentarian Errol Morris.
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