Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Grey, Nowhere Boy) has been tapped to direct Back To Black, the Amy Winehouse biopic in the works at Studiocanal. The director was a close friend of Winehouse and this film is reportedly a passion project for her.
Variety reports that the project has been deliberately kept under wraps. A script has been circulating and is now in the casting stages. Taylor-Johnson reportedly wants to hire an unknown actor for the lead role.
Matt Greenhalgh has written the script. He previously worked with Taylor-Johnson on John Lennon film Nowhere Boy and also wrote Control, a biopic about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, so he has plenty of experience penning screenplays about famous but troubled musicians.
Interestingly, Back to Black reportedly has the full support of Mitch Winehouse, the late singer’s father, who was portrayed in a negative light in the Oscar-winning documentary Amy. He also participated in the 2021 BBC documentary Reclaiming Amy, which marked the 10-year anniversary of the singer’s death.
Winehouse was best known for hit songs such as ‘Rehab’ and ‘You Know I’m No Good.’ Her two albums, ‘Frank’ and ‘Back to Black,’ were acclaimed and earned her six Grammy awards. She died in 2011 at age 27 of alcohol poisoning.
A biopic about her life has unsurprisingly been in the works for a number of years, with Studiocanal producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward attached from the very beginning. The Winehouse estate first signed a deal for the movie back in 2018, though an earlier script was originally penned by Geoff Deane (Kinky Boots).
When asked in 2018 about the possibility of someone like Lady Gaga portraying Amy, her father said:
“I wouldn’t mind betting it would be an unknown […] What we want is somebody to portray Amy in the way that she was…the funny, brilliant, charming and horrible person that she was. There’s no point really me making the film because I’m her dad. But to get the right people to do it, that’s very important, and we will.”
Considering Taylor-Johnson’s real-life relationship with the late singer, she definitely fits the bill as the right person. Attention will now turn to who will portray Winehouse and what parts of her life Greenhalgh’s script will cover.
Of all the post-Bohemian Rhapsody music biopics to be released so far and still to come, this should be one of the most interesting.