Marisa Abela on losing weight to play Amy Winehouse

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Marisa Abela has spoken out about her physical and artistic preparation for her performance as Amy Winehouse in the forthcoming biopic on the singer’s life.

Back To Black, which is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and began filming last week, stars Industry‘s Marisa Abela as the late star.

Speaking on the Before The Lights podcast, Abela said: “I went to an all-girls school in Brighton and it was brutal… this really toxic environment, and it definitely seeped into how I felt about myself.

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“I was anticipating [training for the role] being quite difficult in terms of maybe thinking, ‘This is how I should look when I’m at my skinniest’.”

The actress said her training – including guitar lessons, an exercise regime, and two vocal coaches – turned out to be “the opposite”, adding: “I almost see my body as a true instrument that I’m training for a job. I need to work at it in the same way that I’m practicing guitar. If I was practicing for the last four weeks and I still couldn’t play a song, I’d be scared.

“It’s separating my feelings around weight loss, which I think for me, in the long run, will be really positive.”

Amy Winehouse performing at Glastonbury in 2007. Credit: Claire Greenway/Getty Images

Back To Black is set to “focus on Amy’s extraordinary genius, creativity and honesty that infused everything she did. A journey that took her from the craziness and colour of 90’s Camden High Street to global adoration – and back again, Back To Black crashes through the looking glass of celebrity to watch this journey from behind the mirror, to see what Amy saw, to feel what she felt.”

The film will also star Jack O’Connell as Winehouse’s ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, Lesley Manville as her maternal grandmother, and Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Eddie Marsan as Mitch Winehouse, the singer’s father. Matt Greenhalgh has written the script for the film, with Alison Owen, Debra Hayward and Nicky Kentish-Barnes acting as producers.

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Filming pictures and footage has emerged in the past week, including Abela, O’Connell and Marsan in character.

Winehouse’s life was the subject of 2015 Asif Kapadia documentary Amy, a film Mitch Winehouse was critical of, as well as 2021 BBC film Reclaiming Amy, which the singer’s father appeared in.

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