When Again to Black screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh was first approached about making an Amy Winehouse biopic, he knew a film concerning the late icon could be a magnet for critics and controversy. However Greenhalgh had beforehand written movies about different ill-fated English musicians—Pleasure Division entrance man Ian Curtis (2007’s Management) and John Lennon (2009’s Nowhere Boy)—and felt he may discover his means into her headspace.

“With Amy, I simply thought, ‘I can do this,’” Greenhalgh says. “It’s nice to have that type of confidence going into one thing so huge about somebody so iconic…one thing that’s most likely going to piss a number of folks off. You might want to be assured.”

Again to Black director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who labored with Greenhalgh on Nowhere Boy, felt equally. Two years in the past in LA, they hashed out a storyline for his or her two-hour movie in about three days, liberated by the understanding that they’d be greeted by “harsh” sentiment no matter what they made. “I believe that momentum simply kicked us into, ‘What will we need to see? How will we need to really feel?’”

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Matt Greenhalgh attends the world premiere of Again To Black in London.

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Made with the full assist of the Winehouse property, their completed product is a gauzy retelling of Winehouse’s tumultuous romance with Blake Fielder-Civil, which impressed the Grammy-winning album the film is called after. “We wished to remain just about devoted to a celebratory movie about her,” says the screenwriter, who met Winehouse’s father, Mitch, the administrator of the singer’s property, for dinner earlier than writing the script.

“Rightly he wished to fulfill this man that was going to place phrases into everybody’s mouths in a film,” says the screenwriter.

Mitch had beforehand signed off on a movie made about his daughter: the 2015 Oscar-winning documentary Amy from filmmaker Asif Kapadia. However that critically acclaimed movie depicted Mitch as being one in every of many opportunists (together with us, the sensation-starved public) who accelerated Amy’s self-destruction. Mitch has beforehand been villainized for selections resembling displaying up in St. Lucia the place his daughter was recovering with a movie crew in tow, and selling his personal album in an interview that ran in The New York Instances lower than two weeks earlier than Amy’s loss of life.

“We made many errors,” Mitch has admitted, “however not loving our daughter was not one in every of them.” Finally, he regretted his participation in Amy: “I advised [the filmmakers] that they had been a shame,” he stated to The Guardian in 2015. “I stated: ‘You need to be ashamed of yourselves. You had the chance to make a beautiful movie and also you’ve made this.’”

Throughout the dinner with Greenhalgh, Mitch introduced up being burned by Amy. “He advised me a narrative the place he went to New York and everybody was watching the documentary on a flight, and he principally had a panic assault,” says the screenwriter.

Although the Again to Black filmmakers say Winehouse’s property had no inventive management over the movie, Greenhalgh felt sympathy for Mitch. “I didn’t need to compound any downside on a father that had misplaced his daughter,” he says, explaining that he had little interest in “repeat[ing] what the documentary had insinuated…The toxicity that surrounded Amy was one thing that we had been very a lot conscious of, however we didn’t need to replicate. Happening the darkish path simply wasn’t for us.”

As such, viewers of the biopic aren’t as subjected to the ugly indignities of dependancy or the poisonous influences round Winehouse as they’re in Amy. As a substitute, Again to Black focuses on happier reminiscences of Winehouse—like her relationship along with her beloved paternal grandmother Cynthia (Lesley Manville), her triumphant performances, her fast wit, and her searing honesty. The movie additionally options stylized montages set to the artist’s hits—like a PG “Again to Black” sequence displaying Winehouse exploring New York Metropolis and adjusting to the isolation of fame.

There is no such thing as a point out of a number of salacious storylines that accompanied the singer’s spirals, like a disastrous live performance in Belgrade the place Winehouse elicited viewers boos by refusing to carry out, or pictures of Winehouse smoking crack that was offered to tabloids. “We had 10 years of Amy making fantastic music, and the impact that she’s had globally, and the honesty that she dropped at younger folks” to concentrate on, says Greenhalgh.