The Amy Winehouse biopic is almost here. On Friday, Focus Features dropped the first official trailer for Back to Black, the drama based on the short, stratospheric life of the British soul music legend.
Up-and-coming British actress Marisa Abela (Industry) plays Winehouse in the feature from director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy, 50 Shades of Grey). Produced by Monumental Pictures and StudioCanal, Back to Black will bow in the U.K. and Ireland on April 12 and go out in the U.S. via Focus Features on May 17.
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The film focuses on Winehouse’s early years, living in London, her rise to fame and the recording of her groundbreaking breakout studio album, the titular Back to Black.
In the trailer, we see Abela as Winehouse evolve from her early days, practicing guitar in her room, all brick walls and pink bedsheets, to her first recordings and performing before sellout crowds. We also see snippets of her relationship with future ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil (Jack O’Connell) and her father Mitch Winehouse (Eddie Marsan). Juliet Cowan plays Amy’s mother Janis, and Lesley Manville her grandmother, Cynthia.
Matt Greenhalgh, who worked with Taylor-Johnson on Nowhere Boy, penned the screenplay to Back to Black. Alison Owen (Me Before You, Elizabeth) and Debra Hayward (Les Miserables, Bridget Jones’s Baby) produced Back to Black for Monumental Pictures alongside Nicky Kentish-Barnes (About Time, About a Boy). Taylor-Johnson is executive producer, alongside Ron Halpern and StudioCanal’s senior vp global production, Joe Naftalin.
The project was made with the support of The Amy Winehouse Estate, as well as Universal Music Group and Sony Music Publishing, giving Taylor-Johnson full access to Winehouse’s hit catalog. Focus made good use of that in the trailer, which features clips from “Rehab” and “Back to Black.” In her short career, the multi-Grammy-winning British soul sensation sold more than 30 million records worldwide. But Winehouse struggled with addiction and her success brought with it intrusive media attention on her personal life. On July 23, 2011, Winehouse, then 27, died of what was ruled an accidental alcohol overdose.
“I don’t write songs to be famous,” says Abela in the closing section of the trailer. “I write songs because I’ve got to make something good out of something bad.”
Focus’ tagline for the film? Her Music. Her Life. Her Terms.
Check out the Back to Black trailer and U.S. poster below.
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