'Last King of Scotland' helmer boards feature about iconic musician

Kevin Macdonald will direct the Bob Marley documentary from the Marley family’s Tuff Gong Pictures and Steven Bing’s Shangri-La Entertainment in association with Cowboy Films, which produced Macdonald’s “The Last King of Scotland.”

“Marley” is touted as the first film for which the family of the reggae music pioneer’s family has authorized the use of their own private archives. Docu’s aimed at a third-quarter release this year, the 30th anniversary of Marley’s death.

Lensing will take place in Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. Producers of “Marley” have obtained the music rights to Marley’s recordings.

Macdonald’s directing credits include docus “One Day in September” and “Touching the Void.”

“I was already intrigued by the Marley story but the way in which this film is developing, as we delve through the archive materials and interview key characters in his life, has surpassed my expectations,” Macdonald said. “What made Bob tick is probably unanswerable, but viewers will certainly feel that they know him a little better after seeing our documentary. I am grateful to the Marley family for entrusting me with their heritage.”

Pic is produced by Charles Steel of Cowboy Films and co-produced by Shangri-La Entertainment’s Zach Schwartz. Exec producers include Bing, Chris Blackwell — founder of Island Records,Marley’s signature label — and the musician’s son Ziggy Marley, a reggae star in his own right.

“We went to Kevin initially as an acclaimed documentarian, but what has been most important to the family is his obvious passion for and interest in my father’s life as a musician and person,” Ziggy Marley said.

The authorized docu’s been in the works since early 2008, when Martin Scorsese announced he’d direct it as a follow-up to his Rolling Stones concert pic “Shine a Light” but then dropped out due to scheduling. Jonathan Demme took over the project, but also dropped out.

Macdonald recently completed shooting Focus’ upcoming “The Eagle,” starring Donald Sutherland, Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, and his “Life in a Day” doc screened at Sundance.

Fortissimo Films is the international sales agent.

Tuff Gong produced the documentary “Africa Unite.” Shangri-La’s credits include “Polar Express” and “Beowulf.”

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