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Marisa Abela Takes on the Tragic Tale of Amy Winehouse in “Back to Black”

marisa abela stars as amy winehouse in director sam taylor johnson's back to black, a focus features release credit courtesy of dean rogersfocus features
See Marisa Abela As Amy Winehouse in New FilmCourtesy of Dean Rogers/Focus Features

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 (Nowhere Boy, Fifty Shades of Grey) is set to direct with 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.

Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27 in 2011, is considered 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", respectfully. 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."

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.

Below is everything we know so far about Back to Black.

What is Back to Black about?

l to r actor marisa abela and director sam taylor johnson on the set of back to black, a focus features release credit courtesy of dean rogersfocus features
Courtesy of Dean Rogers/Focus Features

The upcoming film will center around the life of the late musician Amy Winehouse. Known as one of the most famous singers and songwriters to come out of the U.K. and someone who changed the modern landscape of jazz and R&B at the height of her fame with her two and only albums, Frank and Back to Black. Winehouse famously struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse and shocked the world with her early passing at the age of 27 in 2011. The film will follow Winehouse's creative process behind her landmark albums and also the personal strifes that ultimately led to her demise. A new trailer for the film has been released, below.

When will Back to Black be released?

The film is set to be released May 17, 2024.

marisa abela back to black amy winehouse
© Focus Features

Who is starring in the film?

Marisa Abela is set to star as Amy Winehouse with Jack O'Connell portraying her longtime boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil, Eddie Marsan as the singer's father, Mitch, and Lesley Manville as her mother, Cynthia.

Abela confirmed the news of her casting in TKTK sharing a photo of herself next to a mural of Winehouse in London on Instagram as well as other photos 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.

Does Marisa Abela sing in the film?

marisa abela stars as amy winehouse in director sam taylor johnson's back to black, a focus features release credit courtesy of dean rogersfocus features
Courtesy of Dean Rogers/Focus Features

Yes, the actress revealed on Instagram at the time of the official trailer's release that she worked with a vocal coach to master Winehouse's signature raspy, deep vocals and she does perform live in the film.

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