August 24, 2022
An open casting call for the roles of young Bob Marley and Rita Marley in the upcoming Paramount biopic on the reggae king is scheduled for the AC Hotel in Kingston August 27-28, and the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on September 3.
Nadean Rawlins, principal of RAW Management, is responsible for selecting prospects for the roles. She hopes Jamaicans will fill the vacancies.
“One ah dem must ketch! We sent in quite a few and some haven’t completed casting yet. Fingers crossed that a few Jamaicans will get lead roles. We didn’t get the lead role [of Bob Marley] but it would be great to see actors coming out of Jamaica. I am very confident. But it all comes down to what the directors, and producers, especially the executive producers, want for a specific role so it’s very difficult being on that side of the table. We have some people who are strong so we are just hoping for the best,” Rawlins told the Jamaica Observer.
There are currently openings to play The Wailers (ages 17-35); Young Bob (ages five to eight, 11-13 and 15-18); Young Rita (ages 18-22); Young Stephen (ages four to six); Young Cedella (age eight); Young Ziggy (age nine) and Young Sharon (age 12).
Rawlins shared the criteria requested by casting directors.
“What they sent to us is a breakdown which is pretty much exactly what they’re looking for. For example, for a Young Rita, it would be somebody who can play pre-teen and young adult roles, and that may very well be somebody in their 20s but they have the ability to look very young. We have an idea of how she would look at that age that we’re working with. They sent a section of the script of the different characters and we send them to prospects and they do a self-tape and send it to us. If it needs refining, we ask them to do it over and send it back to us before we submit for casting,” she explained.
“Usually, ‘no-name’ actors get a really hard time but sometimes they get chosen… It all boils down to what the producers are looking for, specifically. But at the end of the day, dem [the actors] betta mek sure dem can do it,” she said.
Paramount named British actors Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch to play Bob Marley and Rita Marley in the yet-to-be-titled film. Like Marley, 35-year-old Ben-Adir has biracial parents. His mother is a black Trinidadian, while his father is a white Englishman. Lynch, meanwhile, has Jamaican roots.
The flick will be directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, best known for the Oscar-nominated movie King Richard, based on the life of Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams.
Rita, Marley’s widow, as well their children Cedella and Ziggy Marley, are producers for the project.
Bob Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981 at age 36. Rita Marley celebrated her 76th birthday in July.
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