Those truly responsible for Amy Winehouse’s death, according to the film ‘Back to Black’ which tells the singer’s life


Charlotte Gallagher

In her brief existence, Amy Winehouse has become a music legend, but her troubled personal life has come under intense scrutiny from the press.

Her relationship with ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil was the subject of British tabloids – and she was hounded by photographers when she was at her most vulnerable.

The director of the new biopic about Amy Winehouse, titled “Back to Black,” claims that “the paparazzi and addiction” are the film’s villains, not her ex-husband. And “it wasn’t my place to judge”, says Sam Taylor-Johnson to the BBC.

“Back to Black” tells the story of Winehouse – from a self-assured teenager from North London to a huge international star.

Marisa Abela, who starred in “Barbie” and the BBC series “Industry”, plays the role of Winehouse. While actor Jack O’Connell, from the series “Skins” and the film “This Is England”, plays Fielder-Civil. ‘Back to Black’ opens in Brazilian cinemas in May.

Taylor-Johnson, who also directed the 2009 John Lennon biopic “The Boy from Liverpool”, says he wanted to meet Fielder-Civil before filming, but it wasn’t possible.

“We had to understand why Amy fell in love with him, so it wasn’t about creating a one-dimensional villain,” she says. “We had to fall in love with him to understand why she wrote one of the best albums about their love.”

“In regards to Blake, it wasn’t my place to judge someone who was obviously an addict, nor was it the couple, who had an intense but toxic love story.”

Taylor-Johnson and Abela may not have met Amy Winehouse’s ex-husband, but they did meet other members of the singer’s family.

The director visited Winehouse’s parents before production began “out of respect” given that she was making a film about their daughter.

Marisa Abela with actress Lesley Manville, who plays Winehouse’s grandmother in the film – Dean Rogers/Studio Canal

But she clarifies that they weren’t involved in the production of “Back to Black” — and couldn’t say “what it could or couldn’t do.”

Later, however, the family visited the film set – and met Abela while she was in character as Amy.

“It was extremely important for me to be respectful and aware of how sensitive that moment was,” says the actress.

Many did not agree with the making of a biographical film about Winehouse, believing that it is still too early. The singer died as a result of alcohol poisoning in 2011, aged 27.

After the trailer for “Back to Black” was released, some people complained on social media that Abela doesn’t look or sound enough like the singer.

Eddie Marsan plays Mitch, the artist’s father – Dean Rogers/Studio Canal

Abela sings in the film, but says it “was a relief” to know it wasn’t a prerequisite for winning the role of Winehouse, who she says she was “in awe of”.

The actress took singing lessons before filming. “What was important to me was that music was the medium through which Amy wanted to tell her story, and if you sing in some way that resembles Amy’s singing style, then you can tell each story as she wanted to tell it. .”

“I was very excited about the idea of ​​playing and getting in touch with the girl Amy, and then with the singer Amy. The woman before the icon.”

Taylor-Johnson says it was important to her to cast someone in the role “who wouldn’t pass for Amy.”

“There were a lot of brilliant impersonators and people who looked like her or sounded like her. But Marisa came in as herself, she was the only one in the audition process who didn’t try to look like her in any way, with earrings or eyeliner or anything .”

Reviews for the film have not yet been released, but columnist Barbara Ellen recently wrote about the casting in the British newspaper The Observer: “I don’t need a perfect portrayal of Amy Winehouse. The quality of the acting is the key.”

Regarding Abela’s singing, she added:

“So Abela isn’t exactly Amy’s vocal doppelganger – the only reasonable reaction might be: so what? If Winehouse’s magic were so easy to replicate, you’d wonder what made her so special.”

The media’s persecution of Winehouse is one of the film’s main themes, which shows paparazzi camping outside her home and harassing her in the street.

In one scene, she appears falling outside a pharmacy, and the photographers crouch down to get the best photo, instead of helping her get up.

These may be dramatized events, but the media’s treatment of the star is well documented.

Reading the articles written about the singer while she was at the height of her addiction is uncomfortable.

“Not even a good amount of makeup can hide the shocking state of Amy Winehouse’s skin,” read one.

Another commented: “Does it mean something when the girl pin-up tattooed on your arm looks better than yours.”

In hundreds of photos taken by paparazzi, the singer also appears clearly upset and unwell.

But have times changed? Or would the press’ treatment of Winehouse and other stars like Britney Spears still be repeated today?

Asked whether society and the media have moved forward in this direction, Taylor-Johnson responds:

“I felt like maybe we’d evolved to the point where maybe that wouldn’t happen now — but it feels like it’s happening.”

Both Abela and Taylor-Johnson want the film to show what an incredible artist Winehouse was — and for people to come out of movie theaters and hear her music.

“I think she would feel like we gave back to her with her music in a different light,” says the director. “I hope she feels proud of this and us.”

Abela adds: “And of herself too, like a catalog of her achievements and what she was able to create from a young age.”

“I think she would watch it and be proud of everything she created.”

This text was originally published here.

Source: Folha

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