/Marisa Abela Nails It As Amy Winehouse In ‘Back To Black’ Trailer

Marisa Abela Nails It As Amy Winehouse In ‘Back To Black’ Trailer

The life of Amy Winehouse is bound for the big screen this spring.

Audiences got their first look at “Back to Black,” starring Marisa Abela, with the release of a new trailer Thursday.

The clip shows Abela as Winehouse in her signature beehive hairdo and heavy black eyeliner, commanding the stage at grimy nightclubs before becoming a global superstar.

“I don’t write music to be famous,” she proclaims at one point in the trailer. “I write songs because I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t.”

Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, the biopic is billed as “a never-before-seen glimpse” at Winehouse’s rise to fame. The film is produced in partnership with the six-time Grammy winner’s estate.

“Told from Amy’s perspective, the film is an unapologetic look at the woman behind the phenomenon and the relationship that inspired one of the most legendary albums of all time,” a synopsis for the movie states.

The film hits theaters May 10 in the U.S.

Abela, a British native, is best known to U.S. audiences for HBO’s “Industry,” in which she portrays Yasmin Kara-Hanani. She also appeared alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in last summer’s blockbuster, “Barbie.”

Taylor-Johnson, no stranger to rock ‘n’ roll biopics after 2009’s “Nowhere Boy,” said Abela immediately “inhabited” Winehouse long before sporting the iconic beehive hairstyle seen in the trailer.

Watch the trailer for “Back to Black” below.

“Marisa came in as Marisa – absolutely no cat-eye makeup or anything,” the filmmaker told Empire in an interview published Thursday. “She was very sweet and very quiet. And then I turned on the camera, and she looks down the lens, and literally, we all just went, ‘What?!’”

She added: “We’d seen some brilliant impersonations. But [Marisa] managed to just bring every fibre of her being in alignment with who Amy Winehouse was, and is to many people.”

A London native, Winehouse released her debut album, “Frank,” in 2003. Her global breakthrough came three years later, when she unveiled her second album, “Back to Black,” which featured the smash single “Rehab.”

Amy Winehouse, seen here at Chicago's Lollapalooza festival in 2007, had her global breakthrough with "Back to Black." The album featured her hit song, "Rehab."
Amy Winehouse, seen here at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in 2007, had her global breakthrough with “Back to Black.” The album featured her hit song, “Rehab.”

Daniel Boczarski via Getty Images

Winehouse’s musical achievements, however, were soon overshadowed by her experiences with drug and alcohol addiction. She died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.

As of Thursday afternoon, the “Back to Black” trailer had received a mixed response online ― and many of those doubts may be justified. Recent celebrity biopics, including 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and 2022’s “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” have too often failed to offer a satisfying level of behind-the-scenes insight into their era-defining subjects.

In her Empire interview, however, Taylor-Johnson said her film gives Winehouse’s “agency back.”

“I think it feels true to her — and that’s really the point of making the film, to be true to her, to her music, and to her soul,” she said.

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