Amy Winehouse Biopic Back To Black Coming From Fifty Shades Of Gray Director Sam Taylor-Johnson

Eleven years after her tragic early passing, a biopic about R&B superstar Amy Winehouse is officially in the works. The news comes courtesy of Variety, which also reports that the late singer's friend, filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson, will be directing the film, which is named after Winehouse's biggest album, "Back to Black."

The project seems to be the latest iteration of a biopic that was first planned in 2018, when the Winehouse estate signed on to a movie deal and producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward came on board. Winehouse's father, Mitch Winehouse, is apparently supportive of the film, which may come as a surprise for anyone who saw the 2015 documentary "Amy." The doc, from director Asif Kapadia, used archival footage and interviews to bring Winehouse's story to life, but also included damning statements about her father's role in the singer's career and her attempts to recover from substance abuse.

The casting process has begun

While the songstress's life story is certainly worth telling, I think the success of any fictionalization of her life will depend upon its ability to honor her truth and dig beyond tabloid headlines. Winehouse, who released two highly celebrated albums and earned five Grammys for 2006's "Back to Black," was egregiously exploited by paparazzi and others during her life, and any posthumous portraits will be born into the context of that exploitation. It seems like a good sign that "50 Shades of Gray" and "Nowhere Boy" director Taylor-Johnson is on board, as Variety reports that the filmmaker was a friend of the artist.

No casting information is available as of publication time, but the movie is reportedly in the casting stages. Despite past rumors about Lady Gaga's involvement in a Winehouse biopic, it appears Taylor-Johnson and Studiocanal will be looking for a relatively undiscovered talent to fill the role. While recent musical biopics have been somewhat split between hiring actors who can reproduce the vocals of the superstar they're playing ("Rocketman") and using some of the original vocals from the musician in question ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), it seems unlikely that anyone could find an actor who could sing quite like soulful contralto Winehouse.

The film's script comes from "Film Schools Don't Die in Liverpool" and "Control" screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh, although an earlier version had "Kinky Boots" scribe Geoff Deane attached as a writer. Along with Owen and Hayward, Tracey Seaward is also on board to produce from Studiocanal.

"Back To Black" does not have an announced release date.