Widow backs Marley biopic for Weinstein

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Rita Marley is executive producing the first biopic of her late husband Bob Marley, and if she has her way, the reggae icon's daughter-in-law Lauryn Hill will portray her onscreen.

The Weinstein Co. will produce and distribute a big-screen version of her 2004 autobiography "No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley," a chronicle of the musician's childhood and the couple's tumultuous 15-year marriage through his death from cancer in 1981.

The feature could arrive before Martin Scorsese's authorized feature documentary on the performer, set for release on what would be his 65th birthday, Feb. 6, 2010.

"Lauryn would be ideal (to play me)," Marley said. Her husband's son with Janet Hunt, Rohan, is married to singer Hill, who largely disappeared from the music scene after her acclaimed 1998 debut solo album. "She sees my life as her life," Marley said.

Hill will vet the adaptation currently being written by Lizzie Borden ("Working Girls"), who is in Jamaica completing the script.

The untitled project from producer Rudy Langlais ("The Hurricane") is tentatively set to begin filming early next year with a projected late 2009 release date.

At least some of the project will be filmed in Jamaica, though other locations will be used to take advantage of tax rebates.

The musician will be played by two actors, one portraying him at age 15 and another as an adult.

Marley said her grandson Stefan is "the spitting image" of the singer and would be perfect for the role. Langlais adds that while the project will not necessarially be star-driven, all casting decisions will be made late in the year.

The Weinstein Co.'s Ben Famiglietti and Michael Cole pursued the project for a year and will oversee it for the studio.

Marley plans to be on the set every day. "Every inch of me is in there," she said, "and I don't want a fairy tale or Cinderella story."
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