It may be Bob Marley’s name that has become synonymous with dub and reggae, but—as filmmakers Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough know—his mentor Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is the true godfather of the movement. Now 70-something and living in Switzerland, Perry gets his close-up in The Upsetter, a feature documentary directed by Higbee and Lough and narrated by Benicio del Toro.
Seven years in the making, The Upsetter chronicles the life and music of Perry though archival footage, an anthological score and an unprecedented interview with the music legend himself. Del Toro is our guide through Perry’s journey, which took him from the poverty of rural Jamaica to the toast of New York City, and into the depths of personal catastrophe. East and West Coasters can check out the film now at the Downtown Independent (Los Angeles) and on April 3rd at the Maysles Cinema (New York).
It looks like 2011 is going to be a busy year for Del Toro, who just wrapped his directorial debut on a segment for the film, 7 Days in Havana. The movie features seven segments from different directors who tell separate but intertwined stories. Benicio's short is a partly fictionalized documentary based on a U.S. tourist's first 24 hours in Cuba. He is also reportedly in talks to star in the new Oliver Stone film, Savages, as an enforcer for a Mexican cartel matriarch (who may or may not be played by Salma Hayek). The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Don Winslow.
It's good to see Benicio back in action!