When buying the rights to a musician’s story, it’s also a good idea to secure rights to the associated music. You’d think that point would be highlighted in bold 80-point impact font in the Acquisitions Handbook. But it seems to have escaped the Weinstein Co as the company tried to set up a Bob Marley biopic based on a book by Marley’s widow, Rita.
The gist is this: martin Scorsese, as you probably know, is prepping his own film about the reggae champion. Marty’s movie is a doc similar to his other recent bio efforts for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. The doc is being produced by Tuff Gong Pictures, an outift owned by the Marley family (Tuff Gong being an early nickname for the short but feisty singer) and has already secured the use of Marley’s jams through publishing outfit Blue Mountain Music, run by former Island Records honcho Chris Blackwell.
Ziggy Marley, an executive producer on the documentary, narc’d on the Weinstein Co’s hopeful dramatic effort. “All our efforts and support are currently directed toward the documentary. We believe that this project is the best way to represent our father’s life from his perspective, and any other film project pertaining to our father will be empty without his music to support it.“
Rita Marley added “When I sold the film rights to my book, the contract did not include any rights to use my husband’s music.” When the phrase ‘bait and switch’ came up in conversation, Rita reportedly smiled and walked away.
Harvey’s biopic isn’t necessarily off the books, but Blackwell, would like to see it delayed a few years. How does 2015 sound? Seriously. Six years is about the right delay time to allow him to package Marley’s music distinctly for each picture and perhaps sell it to the same people twice. (Those buyers already having ponied up for one or two CD remasters and box sets as it is.)
Meanwhile, the Weinsteins aren’t out yet. “We have great respect for the Marley family and Chris Blackwell,” said spokesman Matthew Frankel, “and are in discussions to look at ways to mutually benefit both projects.“