Marisa Abela’s Amy Winehouse Biopic Training

The portrayal of iconic musicians on the big screen often requires more than just acting skills, and Marisa Abela, set to star as Amy Winehouse in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s upcoming biopic, “Back to Black,” is no exception. The extraordinary demands placed on actors playing renowned singers are revealed through the meticulous training conducted by voice coach Anne-Marie Speed.

Anne-Marie Speed, renowned for her work with casts of musicals and various film projects, including Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols TV series, draws a parallel between the rigorous training of actors and that of professional athletes. Abela’s transformative journey involved intense gym sessions, nutritional consultations, and a team of coaches addressing every facet of her performance. The commitment required is likened to a full-time athlete’s preparation, showcasing the physical demands of voice production that often go unnoticed.

The collaboration between Marisa Abela and Anne-Marie Speed spanned from September 2022 to January 2023, leading up to the commencement of shooting for “Back to Black.” Abela, who had to learn to sing from scratch, underwent extensive training in singing, accent coaching, and guitar lessons. Speed emphasizes the need for the body to function correctly to support the vocal production, highlighting the intensity and dedication involved in the process.

Transforming into Amy Winehouse posed a unique challenge for Abela, as the goal was to deliver a vocal performance that was close to the iconic singer’s but not merely an impression. Speed stresses the commitment required, revealing that she worked with Abela four times a week for two-hour sessions over three months before filming began. The dedication showcases the significant effort invested in preparing for such a demanding role.

As the demand for musical biopics continues to rise, actors are increasingly required to master the skill of singing to portray the lives of iconic musicians authentically. The industry has witnessed a surge in successful biopics, creating what some refer to as a “golden age” for the genre. The intense preparation undergone by actors, akin to a “method” approach, has garnered increased attention, emphasizing the importance of acquiring the ability to sing as a crucial skill in an actor’s repertoire.