Back to Black

Becoming Amy: The Intensive Physical and Emotional Journey of Marisa Abela in “Back to Black”

Bringing the iconic Amy Winehouse to life on screen is no small feat, but rising star Marisa Abela has fully committed herself—body and soul—to authentically portray the late singer in the upcoming biopic “Back to Black.”

Under the guidance of movement coach Sara Green, Abela underwent a rigorous three-month preparation process to truly embody Winehouse from the inside out.

Inhabiting Amy: A Detective’s Investigation

Green and Abela’s primary objective was not to simply mimic Winehouse’s mannerisms, but to deeply understand the person behind the famous beehive, dramatic eyeliner, and tattoos.

“We’re not trying to impersonate Amy. We’re not trying to copy her. We want to understand why she moves the way she does,” Green emphasized.

To achieve this, the pair delved into every aspect of Winehouse’s life that could have influenced her physicality, from her social circles and interests to her diet and wardrobe.

Green likened their comprehensive exploration to being a detective, piecing together the reasons behind Winehouse’s unique presence.

The Physical Demands of Transformation

Abela’s preparation was not just emotionally taxing, but also physically demanding. Vocal coach Anne-Marie Speed, who worked with Abela for three months prior to filming, compared the process to training like an athlete.

“It’s full-time preparation, it’s like an athlete. People really underestimate how physical voice production can be,” Speed noted.

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The physical transformation extended beyond Abela’s vocal training. To accurately portray Winehouse’s appearance during the Back to Black” era, Abela had to lose weight and adapt to the singer’s evolving style, from her signature beehive hairstyle to her shift from ballet flats to high heels.

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Capturing the Essence of an Icon

As Winehouse’s career skyrocketed, her struggles with addiction and the pressures of fame took a toll on her well-being. Green and Abela were determined to sensitively portray these challenges, focusing on the small details to honestly depict the effects on Winehouse’s body while preserving the power of her persona.

“Even in her later years, Winehouse remained decisive, powerful, and determined, going after what she wanted despite her struggles,” Green observed.

The dedication and attention to detail that Abela and her team of coaches have poured into “Back to Black” aim to create a nuanced, respectful portrayal of Amy Winehouse that captures her essence as both an artist and a human being.

As the film’s release approaches, audiences eagerly await the opportunity to witness Abela’s transformative performance and to celebrate the life and legacy of an unforgettable icon.

Back to Black” will be released in the U.S. on May 10 and in the U.K. on June 16.

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