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‘Back to Black’ Director Sam Taylor-Johnson Says Villains of Amy Winehouse Biopic Are ‘Paparazzi and Addiction’

Taylor-Johnson says she actively avoided making Winehouse's ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil into 'a one-dimensional villain.'

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Director Sam Taylor-Johnson discussed her approach to portraying Amy Winehouse's ex-husband in her film.

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Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of the upcoming Amy Winehouse bio-pic Back to Black, has confirmed that in this version of the story of Winehouse’s life, the villain is not Winehouse’s ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil but, rather, “paparazzi and addiction.”

"We had to understand why Amy fell in love with him, so it wasn't about making a one-dimensional villain," Taylor-Johnson told the BBC in a new interview. "We had to fall in love with him to understand why she wrote one of the greatest albums about their love. In terms of Blake, it wasn't my place to cast judgement on somebody who was obviously an addict, and [on] the two of them having this intense, albeit toxic, love affair."

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Source: MEGA

Amy Winehouse, photographed leaving a friend's house in 2010, because the paparazzi followed her everywhere.

Scheduled for release on April 12 in the UK and May 17 in the US, Back to Black stars Marisa Abela as Winehouse, with Jack O’Connell portraying Fielder-Civil. Taylor-Johnson admitted that she wanted to meet with Fielder-Civil before the start of filming on the production, but she was unable to do so.

Taylor-Johnson did, on the other hand, meet with Winehouse’s parents beforehand. “It was important to meet with them out of respect,” she told Empire. “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.”

Additionally, Winehouse’s parents visited the set and met with Abela, who said in the same BBC interview, “It was incredibly important for me to be respectful and be aware of the sensitivity of that moment.”

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Although Back to Black has yet to actually be screened by audiences, the trailer has been subject to considerable online scrutiny, and it would be more than fair to say that it’s suffered a decent amount of slings and arrows. If the BBC asked Taylor-Johnson about the reaction it has received, however, they didn’t indicate as much in the piece.

They did, however, get a few remarks from the work Abela put into trying to capture the essence of Winehouse in her performance.

"What was important for me was that music was the medium which Amy wanted to tell her story, and if you sing in any way that resembles Amy's style of singing, then you can tell each story as she would have wanted to tell it," said Abela. "I was so excited by the idea of playing and getting in touch with Amy the girl, then Amy the singer. The woman before the icon."

Additionally, the BBC secured uplifting quotes from both the director and her star about their hopes for the film: both Abela and Taylor-Johnson want Back to Black to show what an incredible musician Winehouse was, and for people to leave cinemas and listen to her songs.

"I think she would feel we have sort of gifted her her music back again in a different light," said Taylor-Johnson. "Hopefully she would feel proud of it and us."

“And of herself, too,” added Abela. “As a catalogue of her achievements and what is was she was able to create as a very young woman.”

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