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Marisa Abela will sing “from beginning to end” in Amy Winehouse biopic

The forthcoming Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black will feature Marisa Abela singing “from beginning to end”, director Sam Taylor-Johnson has said.

The Industry actress stars as Winehouse and charts the iconic singer’s vibrant years living in London as well as her intense rise to fame.

Alongside Abela, Back To Black also stars Jack O’Connell as Winehouse’s ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, Eddie Marsan as her father Mitch, Juliet Cowan as her mother Janis, and Lesley Manville as her grandmother Cynthia.

Taylor-Johnson has confirmed Abela performed all the songs herself, having started voice lessons for the part.

“When we first talked about it, my first question to [Abela] was, ‘Can you sing?’ And she said, ‘I can’t,’” the director told Empire [via MusicNews]. “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.”

After a successful but “nerve-wracking” test recording at Abbey Road Studios in London, Abela ended up singing “the entire movie, beginning to end”, which Taylor-Johnson described as “a huge feat”. Abela also worked with Winehouse’s original band for the recordings.

“Dale [Davis] was there, her bass guitarist, and Ade [Omotayo, singer] and we just all stood there and just went, ‘Fuck!’ She’s incredible,” Taylor-Johnston remembered. “They didn’t know what to expect. They were just brimming with emotion, because it’s such a multi-layer of feelings for the people who were close to her and worked with her.”

Taylor-Johnston also spoke about Abela’s audition, where she chose not to dress up lik Winehouse like many other auditionees.

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

Back To Black will be in cinemas from April 12.

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