Industry star Marisa Abela has been confirmed to play Amy Winehouse in upcoming biopic Back To Black – check out the first image above.
Focus Features has partnered with StudioCanal on the project, which has been in talks since 2018. The studio released a photo of Abela in character on Friday (January 13), confirming prior reports that she’d been cast as the Camden singer.
Back To Black will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, best known for directing the 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and Fifty Shades Of Grey. Filming is set to commence on Monday (January 16) in London.
Matt Greenhalgh, who previously collaborated with Taylor-Johnson on Nowhere Boy, has written the script for the biopic. Alison Owen, Debra Hayward and Nicky Kentish-Barnes will serve as producers.
The project, which has been approved by the Amy Winehouse estate, will feature songs by the singer. “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,” reads a statement from her estate.
According to a press release, Back To Black will “focus on Amy’s extraordinary genius, creativity and honesty that infused everything she did. A journey that took her from the craziness and colour of 90’s Camden High Street to global adoration – and back again, Back To Black crashes through the looking glass of celebrity to watch this journey from behind the mirror, to see what Amy saw, to feel what she felt.”
Speaking about the film, Taylor-Johnson said: “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.”
Abela is best known for playing Yasmin Kara-Hanani in HBO series Industry. She’s also set to star in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming live-action film adaptation of Barbie, opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
Winehouse’s life was the subject of the 2021 BBC documentary Reclaiming Amy, released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the singer’s death. Her father Mitch Winehouse appeared in the film, after he was openly critical of 2015 documentary Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia.