Marisa Abela sings ‘beginning to end’ in Amy Winehouse biopic

Sam Taylor-Johnson has revealed that Marisa Abela didn’t lip-sync to recordings.

Sam Taylor-Johnson has revealed Marisa Abela provided vocals for their Amy Winehouse film Back to Black.

The Nowhere Boy director revealed to Empire that the Industry actress provided the vocals for the biopic, rather than lip-syncing to recordings.

“When we first talked about it, my first question to (Abela) was, ‘Can you sing?’ And she said, ‘I can’t,'” the director recalled. “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 now “sings the entire movie, beginning to end”, something Taylor-Johnson described as “a huge feat”.

Abela also got the approval of Winehouse’s original band, who went into the recording studio with the actress.

“Dale (Davis) was there, her bass guitarist, and Ade (Omotayo, singer), and we just all stood there and just went, ‘F**k!’ She’s incredible,” the Fifty Shades of Grey filmmaker 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.”

Reflecting on Abela’s audition, Taylor-Johnson revealed that she didn’t dress up like Winehouse, like many other hopefuls.

“Marisa came in as Marisa – absolutely no cat-eye makeup or anything. She was very sweet and very quiet,” she 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 released in cinemas on 12 April.

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