Production Begins on Amy Winehouse Biopic ‘Back to Black’

Focus Features announced today that production will begin next week Back to blacka fictional film based on the life of Amy Winehouse.

According to a press release, the film “is about Amy Winehouse’s lively years living in London in the early aughts and her intense journey to fame.” The film features much of Winehouse’s music and is being produced with support from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Publishing and Winehouse’s estate. (Winehouse died in 2011 at age 27.) Marisa Abela, pictured above, plays Winehouse in the film.

The movie is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnsonwhose filmography includes the first Fifty Shades of Grey and the John Lennon biography Nowhere boy. Here was her comment on the start of production on the film:

My connection with Amy began when I left college and hung out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden. I got a job at the legendary KOKO CLUB and I can still breathe all the market stalls, vintage shops and streets… A few years later, Amy wrote her searingly honest songs while living in Camden. As 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 apparent that she wasn’t just ‘talent’… she was a genius. As a filmmaker, you can’t really ask for more. I feel thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity to bring Amy’s beautifully unique and tragic story to life in cinema accompanied by the most important part of her legacy – her music.

There is definitely a resemblance between Winehouse and Abela, although the role will require more than just looking like the late musician. Although this is the first fictional film about Winehouse’s life, she has previously been the subject of a film. In 2015, A24 was published Amy, a haunting documentary about Winehouse’s all too short life and career. The film then won the year’s Oscar for best documentary.

Keep shooting Back to black officially begins next Monday, January 16.

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