Just weeks after it was announced that Martin Scorsese would oversee a documentary on the life of Bob Marley comes word that The Weinstein Company is developing a biopic based on Rita Marley’s No Woman, No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley. If all goes according to plan (and that’s the only way it goes in Hollywood), the film will hit theaters in late 2009, several months before the documentary’s February 6, 2010 release date (which coincides with what would’ve been Marley’s sixty-fifth birthday). Both pictures are going forward with the approval of the Marley family, so there shouldn’t be any competition for one to beat the other to the finish line, but you never know with the Weinsteins.
TWC has yet to attach a director, but they do have a screenplay by Lizzie Borden (there’s a blast from the past). This will mark the second attempt to get a Bob Marley biopic into production (the first being Ron Shelton’s adaptation of Timothy White’s Catch a Fire, which fell apart in the late 90s), and the Variety story makes it sound as though it’ll focus on Rita as much as Bob. This might disappoint fans hoping for a pure Marley film, but it is her book; if it’s straight-up Marley you’re after, I’ve a feeling Scorsese’s documentary will be what you need.
There’s no start date for No Woman, No Cry yet, and if SAG goes on strike, you can pretty much forget that late 2009 release date. Marley was a very short guy (5’4″ according to Wikipedia), so the casting process should be fairly interesting. It’s the role Earl Boykins was born to play.