Studiocanal is taking up the mantle of a project that’s been on Hollywood’s brain for years now – an Amy Winehouse biopic. According to Deadline, the company has officially greenlit a new film about the deceased singer titled Back to Black, tapping Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson to direct from a screenplay written by Matt Greenhalgh. With Taylor-Johnson boarding, production is now moving quickly towards getting the Grammy winner’s story on-screen.
Winehouse was a bonafide music superstar when she was alive, though her beginnings were in the North London jazz scene where she often sang at the Cobden Club. Upon releasing her first album Frank, which went double platinum, she began to receive acclaim for her talent that would expand overseas with the release of her landmark album Back to Black which contained her hit song “Rehab.” With that album, she set a record at the time with five Grammys including Record and Song of the Year along with Best New Artist. Unfortunately, her habits of drug and alcohol abuse would haunt much of her career leading to her tragic death at the age of 27 after alcohol poisoning.
Back to Black will cover the events of Winehouse‘s life and rise to stardom, likely in the context of that namesake album. Notably, it also has full backing from the Winehouse estate, allowing the film to dive deep into the life of the singer. While not the first time her story has been told on-screen – A24‘s Amy scored an Oscar for best documentary – it will be the first time her life has been adapted into a feature film. That’s not for a lack of trying, however, as a biopic about the singer was originally in the works from Lotus Entertainment with Noomi Rapace to take on the role of Winehouse.
Aside from directing the box office darling that was Fifty Shades of Grey, Taylor-Johnson also worked on a several music video shorts for classic rock legends Elton John and R.E.M. as well as on the Naomi Watts-led Netflix series Gypsy. She also directed A Million Little Pieces and wrote the film alongside her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson who also starred with Billy Bob Thornton. Most recently, she directed a pair of episodes for Solos.
Studiocanal is producing the film with Alison Owen, Debra Hayward, and Tracey Seaward all serving as individual producers. With the crew mostly set, the goal for Studiocanal now is finding their Winehouse. We’ll have more here at Collider as production on Back to Black unfolds.