Kingsley Ben-Adir: 5 Things to Know About the Actor Playing Bob Marley in New Biopic

Get to know Kinglsey Ben-Adir, the British actor who is playing Bob Marley on the big screen.

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Image Credit: Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Kingsley Ben-Adir is about to have his breakout as the star of the new Bob Marley biopic. The 37-year-old actor is starring in Bob Marley: One Love as the late reggae music legend. Back in 2022, Deadline reported that director Reinaldo Marcus Green and Paramount Pictures executives “saw endless tests and met with dozens of actors vying for the role” of Bob, before Kingsley got the job. Kinglsey is getting a lot of attention as the face of Bob Marley: One Love, which came out in theaters on February 14. Learn more about the talented actor below!

Kinglsey is British.

Kinglsey was born in Kentish Town in London, England. His paternal grandparents were from England, while his maternal grandparents were from Trinidad and Tobago. Kinglsey grew up in London and went to school there. In 2011, he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which sent him on his path towards fame.

 He played Malcolm X in an Oscar-nominated film.

Bob Marley isn’t the first famous person that Kinglsey’s played on the big screen. The actor portrayed civil rights icon Malcolm X in the 2020 film One Night in Miami…, directed by Regina King. The film, which also starred Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr., was nominated for three Oscars.

He was in ‘Barbie.’

Kinglsey was one of the many “Kens” in Barbie. He played “Basketball Ken,” who helps Ryan Gosling‘s Ken take over Barbieland. In an interview with Variety, Kinglsey joked that all the actors playing Kens “looked like absolute losers in a funny way” when they were in costume. He also said that he didn’t hesitate joining the film when he read Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s script for the first time.

Kinglsey Ben-Adir
Kinglsey Ben-Adir at the ‘Bob Marley: One Love’ premiere (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

He was in a Marvel TV show.

Kinglsey played the main villain in the 2023 Marvel miniseries Secret Invasion. He starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, Dermot Mulroney, and Don Cheadle.

Kinglsey compared Secret InvasionBarbie, and Bob Marley: One Love in an interview with The Direct. “Well, ‘Secret Invasion’ was exploring a character who wanted to see everyone burn and suffer. Ken, I feel, didn’t really have a brain; he didn’t really have any thoughts of his own. His only purpose in life was to live for [Ryan Gosling’s] Ken. There’s something quite simple about that. And it was very much about Slapstick and physical comedy. Bob’s a musical artist, and he’s one of the most loved people on the planet, but I’m not a musician. But they’re all very different,” he said.

He was cast as Bob Marley in 2022.

It was announced the Kingsley was leading the Bob Marley biopic in February 2022. He filmed the movie in London and Jamaica from December 2022 to April 2023. In an interview with Entertainment WeeklyKinglsey admitted that he didn’t think he had what it takes to play Bob.

“There were a lot of reservations,” the star said. “I was completely convinced that there’s no point in auditioning for this. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. My question was if they’d been on a worldwide search and they said yes. And I said maybe they should go on another one.”

Kinglsey also revealed that he learned how to sing and play guitar for the biopic. “The more I dug into Bob, the more I realized that music was really everything to him. It really saved him, and he separated himself from other artists around that time,” he said.