Back to Black – Biopic on the rise of Amy Winehouse

words Alexa Wang

Well, a biopic based on the life of Amy Winehouse. Is it too early or not? I can’t decide. It’s always a bit strange when it’s still quite fresh in the memory. At the height of her fame she was stalked by the press and written about on a daily basis though I still we feel we barely knew her really at all. This deals with her early years and her intense rise to fame and not the whole life story and death so not quite so raw maybe. They seem to have a good team in place so hopefully this will be a sensitive but honest portrayal. The family seem to be supporting this film as well so we’ll see.

Back to Black film 2023

Acclaimed filmmaker and visual artist Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct and executive produce the film, with break-out star Marisa Abela (INDUSTRY) landing the coveted lead role. BACK TO BLACK was written by Matt Greenhalgh, reuniting the scribe with Taylor-Johnson following their collaboration on Nowhere Boy in 2009. 

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson comments: 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. 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.”  

The Amy Winehouse Estate added: 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.”

Multi prize-winning visual artist and filmmaker Taylor-Johnson helmed the 2015 blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Her additional credits include the acclaimed John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and A Million Little Pieces both starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Greenhalgh is an award-winning screenwriter best known for Control about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Nowhere Boy about John Lennon’s younger years. He was BAFTA nominated in 2018 for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.  

Marisa Abela most recently starred in the second season of the hit hedonistic banking drama,“Industry,” from HBO and BBC Two. Her breakout leading role as publishing heiress-turned-investment banker, Yasmin Kara-Hanani, has garnered praise from audiences and critics alike, with Variety calling attention to her “scene-stealing” sensibilities. The critically acclaimed series has been renewed for a third season. She has wrapped production on the Warner Bros. live-action film adaptation from director Greta Gerwig, “Barbie,” opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.



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