Marisa Abela is going Back to Black.
The actress, who is best known as publishing heiress-turned-investment banker Yasmin Kara-Hanani on HBO's Industry and will also appear in this year's Barbie, has been cast as Amy Winehouse in director Sam Taylor-Johnson's biopic. Back to Black is being made with the full support of the late singer's estate and record labels.
"My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden," Taylor-Johnson said in a statement. "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."
She continues, "As a filmmaker, you can’t really ask for more. I feel excited and humbled to have this opportunity to realize 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... I will create a movie that we will all love and cherish forever. Just like we do Amy."
The film is said to explore "Winehouse’s vibrant years living in London in the early aughts and her intense journey to fame" upon the release of the titular album in 2006. The singer died at the age of 27 in 2011. Producer Alison Owen says, "Amy Winehouse is the greatest musical talent of the 21st century so far. But like so many female icons, the tragedy of her death has seemed to obscure the triumph of her talent… the fun of the noughties, the craziness of Camden, her youth and brilliance — we want to reclaim that for her, with this film.”
Matt Greenhalgh, who previously collaborated with Taylor-Johnson on 2009's Nowhere Boy, a biographical drama chronicling John Lennon's late teens, wrote the screenplay for Back to Black, which hails from StudioCanal, Focus Features, and Monumental Pictures. Filming began on Monday, Jan. 16, on location in London.
Upon Abela's casting, a first look at her as Winehouse was released:
This isn't the first time Winehouse's story has been told on-screen, as A24's Amy was released in 2015 and went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
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