One of the most sought-after roles in all of Hollywood has officially been filled, and not only that, but we have a first look image. Last summer, it emerged that Industry star Marisa Abela was frontrunner to play Amy Winehouse in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s rock biopic Back to Black. Not only has Abela landed the role, but production kicks off in just a handful of days.
This is a major get for Abela, who will get a chance to lead her first major feature film role. Back to Black is a pet project for Taylor-Johnson, who shared a personal connection with the talented Winehouse. She said in a press statement…
“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.”
Told with the full support of the Winehouse estate, the film will center on the singer’s rise to music stardom in London in the early 2000s. The title is taken from her seminal (and final) album, Back to Black, released in 2006.
Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh have quite a pedigree when it comes to music biopics. In 2009, Taylor-Johnson and Greenhalgh teamed for the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, starring her future husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Greenhalgh penned the script for the incredible Joy Division film, Control.
Don’t be shocked if Back to Black is an awards contender next season, assuming the production rolls along smoothly.