Industry star Marisa Abela ’emerges as frontrunner to play Amy Winehouse in biopic Back to Black’

A new frontrunner has reportedly emerged to play Amy Winehouse in the biopic of her life, Back to Black.

According to Variety, Marisa Abela, 25, one of the stars of HBO and BBC drama Industry, is in discussions to play the singer.

They report that the role was always intended to go to a newcomer rather than a pop star, and that there are other actresses in the mix.

Sought after role: A new frontrunner has reportedly emerged to play Amy Winehouse in the biopic of her life, Back to Black (Amy pictured)

Sought after role: A new frontrunner has reportedly emerged to play Amy Winehouse in the biopic of her life, Back to Black

The British actress, is famous for her role as Yasmin Kara-Hanani in the London-set financial thriller Industry.

She also starred in the Sky TV series COBRA and appears alongside James Norton in the crime thriller Rogue Agent.

Marisa has also been cast in the highly anticipated Barbie film, directed by Greta Gerwig.

She described her first day on set alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as ‘totally surreal’ – and revealed there is a lot more in store for viewers.

Newcomer: They report that the role was always intended to go to a newcomer rather than a pop star, and that there are other actresses in the mix

Newcomer: They report that the role was always intended to go to a newcomer rather than a pop star, and that there are other actresses in the mix

As she gets into her new role, which has not yet been revealed, Marisa said she was ‘incredibly excited’ to be cast.

Speaking to British Vogue, she said: ‘I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so all I’ll say is, the photos you’ve seen barely scratch the surface. I see people online freaking out about certain outfits and I think, just wait until you see the rest.’

Film fans may also recognize Marisa’s mother, who is also an actress, from the long-running BBC show Grange Hill. Caroline Gruber played Miss Washington in British TV series and also starred in the 2017 film Disobedience.

The rising star grew up watching her mother work in television, film and the West End – but according to Marisa, this didn’t particularly encourage her to enter the world of showbusiness.

Rising star: The British actress, is famous for her role as Yasmin Kara-Hanani in the London-set financial thriller Industry (pictured at the British Vogue Self-Portrait Summer Party with Jamie Bogyo)

Rising star: The British actress, is famous for her role as Yasmin Kara-Hanani in the London-set financial thriller Industry (pictured at the British Vogue Self-Portrait Summer Party with Jamie Bogyo)

Instead she was put off the industry, thinking she didn’t have the nerves for it.

‘I think I rebelled against it because I could see it took a lot of gumption and it scared me quite a bit,’ she told Air Mail.

‘I was going to be a human-rights lawyer.’

However, while filling her childhood with sports like swimming, netball and horse riding, Marisa still dabbled in youth theatre.

In English and Drama lessons, she took an avid interest in the plays she studied and she appeared in several school productions.

At 18 she was encouraged by her drama teacher to take up classes with a local youth theater school, The Theater Workshop, which allowed her to explore a more ‘serious’ side of acting outside of musical theatre.

Doing well for herself: Marisa has also been cast in the highly anticipated Barbie film, directed by Greta Gerwig, opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling

Doing well for herself: Marisa has also been cast in the highly anticipated Barbie film, directed by Greta Gerwig, opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling

Despite showing early promise in acting Marisa initially intended to study history and law at University college London to pursue her big dream of becoming a human rights lawyer.

But when she went to visit UCL, Marisa was lured in by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) which was just down the road.

Within weeks, she deferred her place at the university and enrolled at the prestigious drama school, for which she had to undertake four rounds of auditions that culminated in a full day workshop.

In an interview with The Theater Workshop, she said: ‘For some reason, I always did my best work at RADA and Guildhall. Something about the environment both schools create… I found it easier to connect with myself and produce truthful work.’

‘I have always had a passion for acting and the theater… I’ve always been so interested in human beings and the way we interact with each other.’

When she moved to the capital to study, Marisa admitted she was a home-bird and was going to miss her mother’s cooking.

She said: ‘All that’s stressing me out right now is how does my mum make her mashed potatoes so smooth because I can’t go without mash for too long.

Also coming up for the starlet is Jamie Adams film She is Love, about an estranged divorced couple coming back together to revisit the past, where Marisa will star alongside Haley Bennett and Sam Riley.

Superstar: The film is expected to follow her life as a talented jazz singer in North London to her rise as a global superstar with her second album, 2006's Back to Black, which included her smash hit single Rehab

Superstar: The film is expected to follow her life as a talented jazz singer in North London to her rise as a global superstar with her second album, 2006’s Back to Black, which included her smash hit single Rehab

Meanwhile, Sam Taylor-Johnson has signed on to direct the biopic, now entitled Back to Black, the same name of Winehouse’s breakthrough 2006 album, via Deadline.

The project is said to be moving together quickly, with Taylor-Johnson working from a script by Matt Greenhalgh.

The film is expected to follow her life as a talented jazz singer in North London to her rise as a global superstar with her second album, 2006’s Back to Black, which included her smash hit single Rehab.

She became one of just five women at the time to win five Grammys in one night, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

The singer long had struggled with alcohol and drug abuse throughout her career, passing away in 2011 at just 27 years of age from alcohol poisoning.

Documentary: A24's 2015 documentary Amy won the Oscar for Best Documentary, though this will be the first biopic to tackle her life, though other versions were in the works

Documentary: A24’s 2015 documentary Amy won the Oscar for Best Documentary, though this will be the first biopic to tackle her life, though other versions were in the works

A24’s 2015 documentary Amy won the Oscar for Best Documentary, though this will be the first biopic to tackle her life, though other versions were in the works.

It was announced in 2015 that Noomi Rapace has signed on to star in a Winehouse biopic from Lotus Entertainment.

Kristen Sheridan, the daughter of In America director Jim Sheridan, was set to both direct and write the screenplay, though it never moved forward.

Director: Four years later, the project has moved to StudioCanal with Sam Taylor-Johnson directing, though both Owen and Hayward are remaining as producers, along with Tracey Seaward

Director: Four years later, the project has moved to StudioCanal with Sam Taylor-Johnson directing, though both Owen and Hayward are remaining as producers, along with Tracey Seaward

Then it was announced in October 2018 that Winehouse’s family signed a deal with Monumental Pictures for a biopic.

Kinky Boots writer Geoff Deane was brought on to write the script, with Alison Owen and Debra Hayward producing.

Four years later, the project has moved to StudioCanal with Taylor-Johnson, though both Owen and Hayward are remaining as producers, along with Tracey Seaward.

The project is being made with the ‘full support’ of Winehouse’s estate, with the director to begin their search for the actress to play Winehouse in the coming weeks.

Taylor-Johnson stared at her career as a music video director including Elton John’s I want Love and The Weeknd’s Earned It.

She made her feature film debut with 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, and went on to direct A Million Little Pieces and two episodes of Amazon’s Solos.

Career: She made her feature film debut with 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey, and went on to direct A Million Little Pieces and two episodes of Amazon's Solos

Career: She made her feature film debut with 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, and went on to direct A Million Little Pieces and two episodes of Amazon’s Solos

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