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Marisa Abela placed Amy Winehouse in the 'driver's seat' of Back to Black story

Marisa Abela at the Harper's Bazaar International Women's Day event credit:Bang Showbiz
Marisa Abela at the Harper's Bazaar International Women's Day event credit:Bang Showbiz

Marisa Abela is determined to place Amy Winehouse at the centre of the story in 'Back to Black'.

The 28-year-old star is to portray the late singer in the upcoming biopic and wanted to capture Amy's "essence" in the flick as her story has been told by others since her tragic death aged just 27 in 2011.

Speaking at the Harper's Bazaar International Women's Day event in London on Thursday (07.03.24), Marisa said: "What we were interested in doing was bringing audiences back to who she was when she first captured everyone's imaginations, that moment where she really set the world on fire with her album 'Frank'.

"We wanted to get back to that place, who was she, at the centre of her own narrative? I wanted to capture the essence of her soul."

The actress continued: "When we look back on her narrative, we are somehow using other people to inform us on her story. Our film is really trying to take it back to how Amy felt, what Amy was thinking. And there is no judgement there. This is about putting Amy back in the driver's seat of her own story."

Marisa felt that she had an "obligation" to embody the 'Valerie' singer's physical and mental state in the picture, which is set for release next month.

She said: "When you make a decision to take on board something like this, you have an obligation and a responsibility to go as deep physically and emotionally and mentally as you can.

"I wanted to do that in every way that was open to me. I wanted to explore every avenue possible. Everything that Amy did was Amy's choice so who am I as an actor to decide that we weren't going to include that in the film.

"With singing, it was Amy's everything, it was her whole life so I wanted to really train as hard as I possibly could to get that voice as good as I could."

Marisa added: "Regarding physicality, when you are a different size, you take up a lot less space and that just changes how you interact with the world and how the world interacts with you.

"I think Amy can be defined by a million things, most of all her power and her voice and her legacy, but it's true that she was a victim of a disease which was addiction and an eating disorder – and that changes you physically, and I didn't feel like it was my place as an actor to say that we don't need that part of the story. It's her story."