Back to Black: everything you need to know including cast, story and release date

A British music legend is resurrected on the big screen this April. Back to Black recounts the joyous highs and tragic lows in the sadly curtailed life of Amy Winehouse, the best-selling pop star whose ascent to multi-album-selling success was undercut by her sudden death at the age of 27.

Back to Black promises to be a celebratory salute to Winehouse's legacy even as it tackles the darkness of the media industry and her family life along the way. The film is released this April and here's what you need to know about it including cast, story and release date. 


What is the story of Back to Black?

Back to Black tells the extraordinary tale of the iconic, tragic UK contralto soul singer Amy Winehouse, in particular the build towards her sensational, Grammy-winning album Back to Black, and her tragic death in 2011.

Painting a vivid, vibrant picture of the Camden streets she called home and capturing the struggles of global fame, Back to Black honours Amy's artistry, wit, and honesty, as well as trying to understand her demons. It also sets out to be an unflinching look at the modern celebrity machine and a powerful tribute to a once-in-a-generation talent.


Who stars in Back to Black?

Industry star Marisa Abela portrays Amy Winehouse and Jack O'Connell (Starred Up) plays her eventual husband Blake Fielder-Civil. Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky) is Mitch Winehouse, Amy's father, Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) is her grandmother Cynthia and Jeff Tunke plays Back to Black album producer Mark Ronson.

"The more I got to know her, the more I felt a major connection to this spiky Jewish girl from London who had a lot to say, and was really quite unafraid," Abela tells Harpers Bazaar. "I understood what a Friday-night dinner would look like in her home, the humour in her family. I loved how effervescent she was, how huge a soul, how she just permeated any room she was in. But also, her relationship to her art form, and wanting to be good. That was the most important thing."

Abela says she “felt an obligation to do right by Amy” and expressed the hope that should Winehouse have been able to watch the film, “she would feel proud of herself”.


Who directs Back to Black?

Back to Black is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. She's known for her progressive and forthright short films such as 'Love You More', many of which explore sexuality and identity. Taylor-Johnson is perhaps best known for her acclaimed biopic Nowhere Boy (2009), which explored the life of the pre-Beatles John Lennon as portrayed by Taylor-Johnson's eventual partner Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The director also scored a significant box office hit (if not necessarily a critical one) with Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), the first in the blockbusting erotic E.L. James adaptations. 


Does Marisa Abela do her own singing in Back to Black?

Yes, and Abela even ended up recording with Winehouse's original band. She says: "I had no idea how close I could get to singing like Amy. But why not work as hard as I possibly could to do it? That’s how I felt with everything: her movements; her dancing; her thought processes. How close can I get to her? How can I unravel a psychological truth that will excite people again?"

Sam Taylor Johnson tells Empire: "When we first talked about it, my first question to [Marisa] was, ‘Can you sing?’ And she said, ‘I can't’. I was thinking, maybe we'll use Amy's voice throughout, and we'll do it that way. She then went off after that audition – irrespective of whether she knew she'd got the part – and started training her voice.” 

"Now she sings the entire movie, beginning to end. I mean, it's a huge feat."

Get a sense of Marisa Abela's performance in the following clip.



Is Amy Winehouse's family involved in the making of Back to Black?

“It was important to meet with them out of respect,” Sam Taylor-Johnson tells Empire. “But they have no involvement in terms of… like, they couldn’t change things. They couldn’t dictate how I was to shoot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it.” 

“I know [Mitch Winehouse] saw the film. I wasn’t there. I haven’t spoken to him. I think he keeps his feelings pretty much to himself. The important thing for me was not to have any of that noise in my sphere while making the film. And I didn’t need the family’s approval. All the music rights were approved by Universal and Sony. So what I wanted as much as possible was the truth of Amy, and Amy’s relationship was that she loved her dad, whether we think he did right or wrong."


When is Back to Black released at Cineworld?

Back to Black is released at Cineworld on April 12th.


Where can we book our tickets for Back to Black?

Click the link below to book your tickets for Back to Black.