Back to Black has found it's star.
After months of rumors, Deadline confirmed that Industry breakout star, Marisa Abela is set to portray Amy Winehouse in the upcoming biopic about the late British music sensation. Sam Taylor Johnson (of Nowhere Boy, Fifty Shades of Grey fame) is set to direct the film with Focus Features and Monumental Picture teaming up to produce. Abela reportedly "blew away execs" as well as Taylor-Johnson for the highly coveted role that a number of actresses were in the running for. Focus Films also revealed a first look of the film and Abela in character, which can be seen below.
Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27 in 2011, is considered to be one of the defining voices of the 21st century. Her standout album Back to Black, earned her a then record-breaking five Grammy Awards in 2008, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for her hit track 'Rehab', though she was also known for standout songs such as 'You Know I'm No Good' and 'Valerie'. Her outstanding musical contributions were and still are often colluded with her personal struggles with addiction and her tumultuous relationship with fellow British musician Blake Fielder-Civil over the years. Per Deadline, the biopic is set to focus on "Amy’s genius, creativity, and honesty that infused everything she did."
“My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden. I got a job at the legendary Koko Club, and I can still breathe every market stall, vintage shop and street… A few years later Amy wrote her searingly honest songs whilst living in Camden. Like with me, it became part of her DNA," said Taylor-Johnson in a statement regarding the movie. "I first saw her perform at a talent show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho and it was immediately obvious she wasn’t just ’talent’… she was genius. As a filmmaker you can’t really ask for more."
She continued, "I feel excited and humbled to have this opportunity to realise Amy’s beautifully unique and tragic story to cinema accompanied by the most important part of her legacy—her music. I am fully aware of the responsibility, with my writing collaborator—Matt Greenhalgh—I will create a movie that we will all love and cherish forever. Just like we do Amy."
Amy Winehouses's parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse, who are also the executors of her estate, also shared their support of the film in a joint statement.
“We are thrilled that StudioCanal, Focus Features, and Monumental are making this movie celebrating our daughter Amy’s extraordinary music legacy and showcasing her talent in the way that it deserves,” they both said.
Abela also confirmed the news on her personal Instagram with a series of photos of Winehouse as well as herself in character for the role.
"'And for London. This is for London. Cause Camden Town ain’t burnin down'—I love you, Amy ❤️," she wrote.
This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar US
Feature image credit: colectivosonoro | Instagram
Sq image credit: pani_magazyn | Instagram