Ziggy, Cedella, Karen, Robert and Rohan Marley, who was joined by longtime Marley associate, Neville Garrick, not only support the Kevin Macdonald ('The Last King of Scotland') film, but are also featured. Each gives their own perspectives about who the man they called daddy and friend – really was.
The comprehensive documentary, which opens nationwide today, is said to be the definite take on the life of the truly important iconic reggae legend, who was born Robert Nesta Marley in Jamaica in 1945.
The Marley children commended Macdonald’s film for the showing the human side of their revolutionary father.
While Marley symbolized peace and love, his children acknowledge that he also had a harsher side. He was a strict disciplinarian (Karen speaks of how she literally couldn’t’ leave the dinner table until she had finished her meal) and at times was just “rough.”
Marley's family, band mates and friends all reflect on their views of Marley as a leader, a friend, a father, a womanizer and an incredible musician.
Although the film is long, coming in at 145 minutes, it doesn’t feel weighed down. It feels like a Bob Marley concert with the icon singing numerous hits from a huge chunk of his discography.
The film starts out by revealing Marley had an English father and that he moved from rural Jamaica to Kingston when he was 12. His first record, Judge Not, was cut in 1962. By 1964, Marley had found his groove by recording Simmer Down with the legendary The Wailers.
“Marley,” (Magnolia Pictures) turns up the volume on Bob Marley’s prowess in the world of music, especially reggae.
“I think what’s great about the film is though there have been a lot of things done on Bob, I think this one will give people a more emotional connection to Bob’s life as a man – not just as a reggae legend or a mythical figure, but his life as a man,” said Ziggy Marley, who was wearing a beige, knit cap and a beige shirt emblazoned with his father’s image.
I caught up with the Marley children Rohan (RM), David Ziggy (ZM) Cedella (CM), Karen (KM), Robert (RM) and longtime associate Neville Garrick and asked them about the film.
DAVID 'ZIGGY' MARLEY
Q: Ziggy, what do you like about the film?
ZM: This is about his life and everything he’s been through. Now people know him life.
Q: What about you, Rohan?
RM: I like that the film showed the human side of my father. It’s important that through the beginning you see he came from nothing. The film did a great job of showing my father as a human being.
Q: How old were you when he died?
RM: I was nine.
Q: How would you describe him?
RM: He was quiet, patient, strict, a father.
Q: Cedella, your thoughts.
CM: Kevin did an amazing job of people to talk to. We started out laughing, by the end we’re crying.
Q: You had to share your father with the world. In the film you seem to resent having to do that.
CM: Even now, we’re still sharing him.
Q: What’s the most important thing you want people to get from this film?
ZM: The legacy he left. People don’t even know us, but they walk up to us and say, ‘you’re Bob’s kids. I love you.’
Q: Can you share an intimate moment you had with your dad?
ZM: Going to Zimbabwe on a plane with him. He said it was like a trip to the moon. I remember playing football and even the spankings. I remember him trying to feed me the disgusting juices he would make. I remember his writing songs and telling us to come and sing.
ROBERT & DAVID 'ZIGGY' MARLEY
Q: What did your father teach you?
ZM: Realizing music has a purpose and is spiritual. Music is from God. I learned that from him. When I was younger, I wanted to be just like him. I can feel his spirit within me.
Q: At one point he really became ill.
CM: Hmmm…amputating his leg, strokes he had, tonsils taken out.
Q: Rohan, how much did you know about your father’s illness?
RM: I never knew my father had cancer or was ill until he passed away. I saw him as this energy. You’d never know. He’d never say he was sick.
Q: Your thoughts Karen.
KM: I didn’t grow up with him. I would visit on the weekends. He was strict and hard. He was also a loving father.
CM: Mommy dealt out discipline. He would take you for ice cream. He was the rebel for all seasons. That’s what I call daddy.
Q: Your father lived his life a certain way. How are you living your life?
RM: It’s important we live a certain way so our father would be proud. We come as lions, not lambs to be slaughtered.
Q: What did you like about your father?
RM: So much. Of course the music, mon. He wasn’t regretful or vengeful.
Q: Were you ever afraid of him?
RM: I feared my father. He was a lion. I’m a lamb. You gotta make sure you’re doing the right thing. He never spanked me. He only threatened me. My father was at home to make sure I was on the right page.
Q: Ziggy, did you learn anything about your father that you didn’t already know?
ZM: I didn’t know Bob was shy. I’m shy too.
Q: Neville, you were very close to Bob Marley. It has to be hard watching a film about your friend who has passed away.
NG: Bob used to say, the only time you’re dead is when no one speaks about you again.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for drug content, thematic elements and some violent images)
Running time: 2:25
On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (OK) and E (excellent), “Marley” gets an E (excellent)