Sam Taylor-Johnson Says She Didn’t Want Amy Winehouse’s Family to Consult on 'Back to Black'

The director stated she met with the late singer's family out of respect but didn't want their input.

Woman in a black sleeveless dress smiling at a camera with a lit circular design in the background
(Photo by Jeff Spicer / Getty Images)
Woman in a black sleeveless dress smiling at a camera with a lit circular design in the background

Sam Taylor-Johnson, the director of the forthcoming Amy Winehouse biopic titled Back to Black, has opened up on what it was like to film the upcoming movie while meeting with the late singer's family. 

One of the more surprising tidbits in her press run was that she wanted to handle the movie without the consultation of Whinehouse's family. According to Johnson, she didn't want to get any type of approval from the singer's relatives regarding her film.

In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Taylor-Johnson said Winehouse's family had no input on her cut of the film, nor would they benefit financially from the film. She also stated she had one demand before taking on the film. 

"It was taking on a big story with a lot of swirling interest and anxiety from people who hold her dear," said Taylor-Johnson. "I just didn't want to have to have people to answer to. I had to be able to tell the story the way I wanted."

She reiterated that point and explained she met with the late singer's family but wanted to have full autonomy in a conversation with Empire, where she said, "It was important to meet with them out of respect. But they have no involvement in terms of… like, they couldn't change things. They couldn't dictate how I was to shoot. Otherwise, I wouldn't have done it."

While Taylor-Johnson says the family had no input, Amy's father Mitch Winehouse defended the casting of Marisa Abela, who some criticized for not looking exactly like the late singer.

Back to Black was released in the United Kingdom on April 12 and has a cast that includes Marisa Abela, Jack O'Connell, Eddie Marsan, and Lesley Manville. In the United States the film is scheduled to arrive on May 17, 2024. 

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