Amy Winehouse’s story is getting the biopic treatment, and the studio behind the upcoming film shared a first look image.
Studiocanal announced it was partnering with Focus Features and Monumental Pictures on the music drama, titled Back to Black, just as photos from the London set made the rounds. English actor and Industry star Marisa Abela, 26, will play Winehouse, with Sam Taylor-Johnson serving as director.
“One of music’s greatest artists, Amy Winehouse, comes to the big screen in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s BACK TO BLACK,” Studiocanal wrote on Instagram. “With cameras rolling from next week, we’re thrilled to release this first look at rising star Marisa Abela as Amy.”
According to the production studios, Back to Black will track “Amy Winehouse’s vibrant years living in London in the early aughts and her intense journey to fame.”
The script is written by Matt Greenhalgh, who last worked with Taylor-Johnson on 2009’s Nowhere Boy — a biopic about the early years of John Lennon. Back to Black reportedly has the full support of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Publishing, and The Amy Winehouse Estate, which means the filmmakers have full access to her music catalog.
Earlier this week as production began, pictures from the set showing Abela and actor Eddie Marsan appeared online. Abela can be seen donning Winehouse’s iconic look: jet-black beehive hair, thick winged eyeliner, and an all-black ensemble included.
It is said that Marsan will play Winehouse’s father, Mitch.
“My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden,” Taylor-Johnson told Deadline. “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. 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. 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.”
Winehouse, who struggled with substance abuse and addiction, died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011. She was just 27, and considered one of the greatest and most beloved artists in recent history. She sold more than 30 million records worldwide, and, today, is generating more than 80 million streams per month.
After her death, her Grammy-winning 2006 album Back to Black briefly became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. VH1 ranked Winehouse 26th on their list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
“I never thought I would make money out of music even though I knew it would always be the main focus of my life and the greatest joy,” Winehouse said in a 2004 interview with Hot Press. “I still don’t think I have anything special, there’s a million girls like me – it’s just that I’ve been given a massive opportunity.”
There is not yet a release date for Back to Black.