STUDIOCANAL, Focus Features and Monumental Pictures announced today they will partner on BACK TO BLACK, the highly anticipated feature film about Amy Winehouse’s vibrant years living in London in the early aughts and her intense journey to fame. Acclaimed filmmaker and visual artist Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct and executive produce the film, with break-out star Marisa Abela (INDUSTRY) landing the coveted lead role. Focus will distribute BACK TO BLACK in the U.S., with Universal Pictures International handling international distribution, excluding the UK, France, Germany, Aus/NZ, Benelux, Scandinavia, and Poland which will be handled by STUDIOCANAL. Filming is set to begin on Monday, January 16th in London.
The deal was closed by Anne Cherel, Aska Yamaguchi and Sophie Leuthreau for STUDIOCANAL and Howard Meyers and Marin Babb for Focus Features.
BACK TO BLACK was written by Matt Greenhalgh, reuniting the scribe with Taylor-Johnson following their collaboration on Nowhere Boy in 2009. Featuring many of Amy’s hit songs, BACK TO BLACK has the full support of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Publishing and The Amy Winehouse Estate.
Alison Owen (Saving Mr Banks, Me Before You, Elizabeth), Debra Hayward (Les Miserables, Bridget Jones’s Baby) of Monumental Pictures are producing, Nicky Kentish-Barnes (What’s Love Got To Do With it?, Everest) executive produces, with Nina Gold leading the casting of the film. EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and SVP Global Production Joe Naftalin executive produce and are overseeing for STUDIOCANAL.
Amy Winehouse is widely considered one of the greatest artists in recent history, selling more than 30 million records worldwide, and today generating more than 80 million streams per month. Her acclaimed produced 2006 album Back To Black, propelled her to global stardom, going on to win a (then) record breaking 5 Grammy Awards, including Record Of The Year and Song of The Year for hit single Rehab. BACK TO BLACK will focus on Amy’s extraordinary genius, creativity and honesty that infused everything she did. A journey that took her from the craziness and colour of 90’s Camden High Street to global adoration – and back again, BACK TO BLACK crashes through the looking glass of celebrity to watch this journey from behind the mirror, to see what Amy saw, to feel what she felt.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson comments: My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden. I got a job at the legendary KOKO CLUB, and I can still breathe every market stall, vintage shop and street… A few years later Amy wrote her searingly honest songs whilst living in Camden. Like with me, it became part of her DNA. I first saw her perform at a talent show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho and it was immediately obvious she wasn’t just ’talent’… she was genius. As a filmmaker you can’t really ask for more. I feel excited and humbled to have this opportunity to realise Amy’s beautifully unique and tragic story to cinema accompanied by the most important part of her legacy – her music. I am fully aware of the responsibility, with my writing collaborator – Matt Greenhalgh – I will create a movie that we will all love and cherish forever. Just like we do Amy.”
Producer Alison Owen expands: “Amy Winehouse is the greatest musical talent of the 21st century so far. But like so many female icons, the tragedy of her death has seemed to obscure the triumph of her talent…the fun of the noughties, the craziness of Camden, her youth and brilliance – we want to reclaim that for her, with this film.”
The Amy Winehouse Estate added: “We are thrilled that STUDIOCANAL, Focus Features and Monumental are making this movie celebrating our daughter Amy’s extraordinary music legacy and showcasing her talent in the way that it deserves.”
Said Kiska Higgs, President of Production & Acquisitions at Focus, “In Sam Taylor-Johnson’s exquisitely moving portrait of an artist, the genius, the heart, the energy and the woman behind the icon we all know as Amy Winehouse promise to shine through as she deserves. We can’t wait to travel through Amy’s world and hear her voice through the wonderful Marisa Abela, and are looking forward to reuniting with Sam and our friends at Monumental and STUDIOCANAL.”
STUDIOCANAL EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and SVP Global Production Joe Naftalin conclude: “It is our enormous pleasure and privilege to produce and bring this movie to audiences. We are incredibly grateful to our partners at The Amy Winehouse Estate, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Publishing to have the opportunity to tell Amy Winehouse’s story with the use of her extraordinary music – to our partners at Focus Features – and to our amazing director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and star Marisa Abela, who we are so excited to be working with. Amy Winehouse was a once in a generation talent -and with our producing partners at Monumental Pictures, we will endeavour to do her proud with this movie – and create a music-driven event picture for audiences new and old, that will make us all laugh, cry – and to truly celebrate Amy and her genius.”
Multi prize-winning visual artist and filmmaker Taylor-Johnson helmed the 2015 blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Her additional credits include the acclaimed John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and both starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson. She is represented by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Sloane, Offer, Weber, Dern (attorney) and Shelter PR.
Greenhalgh is an award-winning screenwriter best known for Control about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Nowhere Boy about John Lennon’s younger years. He was BAFTA nominated in 2018 for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.
Marisa Abela is represented by WME, The Artists Partnership, Shelter PR. Abela most recently starred in the second season of the hit hedonistic banking drama,“Industry,” from HBO and BBC Two. Her breakout leading role as publishing heiress-turned-investment banker, Yasmin Kara-Hanani, has garnered praise from audiences and critics alike, with Variety calling attention to her “scene-stealing” sensibilities. The critically acclaimed series has been renewed for a third season. She has wrapped production on the Warner Bros. live-action film adaptation from director Greta Gerwig, “Barbie,” opposite Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. This follows her captivating role in the IFC Films and AMC+ espionage thriller, “Rogue Agent,” alongside James Norton and Gemma Arterton. Prior to this success, Abela starred in the improvisational romance from writer and director Jamie Adams, “She Is Love,” opposite Haley Bennett and Sam Riley. She first made her television debut in the action series, “Cobra.” Abela is a graduate of the highly acclaimed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, where she still resides.
(Photo credit: Universal Music)
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
A Million Little Pieces is based off of the controversial Novel/Memoir by James Frey that follows his crack addiction and the his experiences and interactions with people in an AA facility. It’s the latest Film from Sam Taylor-Johnson and will have its World Premiere at TIFF ‘18 in the Special Presentations Programme.
What the Film does best is depict the struggle many people go through when having an addiction. It shows the ups and downs along with how AA might work for some but not others. The Film is also a great platform for Aaron Taylor-Johnson who puts everything he has into his performance.
A Million Little Pieces screens at TIFF on Monday, September 10 at 8:45 PM at Ryerson Theatre, and Tuesday, September 11 at 9 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1.
We’re a bit slower to start this year, but thrilled still to spot some marquee names at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, making their way in! Power Couple Aaron (Nocturnal Animals) and Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) are at the Festival for the latter’s adaptation of James Frey‘s bestseller, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. The former also is here for Opening Night Gala, THE OUTLAW KING. While they were held back for quite some time, they were all smiles, relieved to make they way out. Love everything about this couple!
We love Amber Heard (The Danish Girl) and it was a lovely surprise seeing her arrive incognito in sunglasses, which she later took off once spotted! She is here for HER SMELL, starring alongside Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) who plays a self-destructive Rocker! Heard also will speak at an event for L’Oréal on Friday, celebrating the power of women!
Bonus sighting! Fans of Marvel’s Jessica Jones will recognize right away Erin Moriarty, in-town filming Series, THE BOYS.
We don’t know about you, but we’re so ready for our favourite time of the year! We’ve been out doing the rounds and doing lots of Press ourselves. In case you missed it, here’s our segment on CP24 on LIVE AT NOON!
Up next are an appearance on Breakfast Television Friday morning right before 7 AM! Tune-in or PVR it!
We caught wind of Chris Pine flying-in today for The Outlaw King also, while earlier in the day The Predator stars Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn and Boyd Holbrook all were spotted around the City.
Hoping we pick-up the pace a bit more tomorrow for Day One of TIFF ’18!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
THIS VALENTINE’S DAY, THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON COMES TO LIFE. UNIVERSAL PICTURES PROUDLY PRESENTS FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. ARE YOU CURIOUS?
Universal Pictures Canada and Mr. Will want to take some extremely lucky Readers in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Winnipeg to the most hotly-anticipated Movie of 2015. Temperatures are – pardon the pun – bound to rise this February and we want Willionaire$ to feel the heat first! Screenings take place Wednesday, February 11, 2015.
Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), 21, is studying at Washington State University. She takes a writing assignment for the school paper to interview Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a 27-year-old successful and wealthy entrepreneur. Although she finds him intimidating, she’s instantly attracted to Christian.
He later shows up at the hardware store where she works part time and buys cable ties, masking tape and rope. They begin a relationship, but beforehand, he asks her to sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her to discuss anything that they do together. She learns he’s into BDSM and he then asks her to sign a second contract consenting to dominance and submission and tells her their relationship will not be romantic.
See the exclusive 60-second Canadian Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook and indicate your City. Also in the comments, tell me what your ideal romantic Valentine’s Date includes. You may Re-Tweet the below or click “share” on this Post from Facebook from there for an extra chance:
http://mrwillwong.com/fiftyshadesofgrey @MRWILLW wants us to #win Passes to see #50ShadesofGrey! In theatres Valentine’s Day.
Good luck, Willionaire$!
Universal Pictures Canada release FIFTY SHADES OF GREY on Friday, February 13, 2015.
(Photo/video credit: Universal Pictures Canada)
We saw a quick Teaser a few months back, but this brand-new Trailer for FIFTY SHADES OF GREY actually looks quite compelling! Dark, sexy, suspenseful, elegant – we knew Sam Taylor-Johnson would get the tone right. And well she did, especially considering how easily parodied the subject matter is…
See the sizzling new Trailer:
Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever.
Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
Joining Dornan and Johnson in the cast are Luke Grimes as Elliot, Christian‘s brother; Victor Rasuk as José, Anastasia‘s close friend; Eloise Mumford as Kate, Anastasia‘s best friend and roommate; Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian‘s mother; Rita Ora as Mia, Christian‘s sister; Max Martini as Taylor, Christian‘s bodyguard; Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Anastasia‘s stepfather; Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Anastasia‘s mother; and Dylan Neal as Bob, Carla‘s husband.
Universal Pictures Canada release FIFTY SHADES OF GREY on Valentine’s Day 2015.
(Photo/video credit: Universal Pictures)
He’s been touted as a Breakout Star for a while now, but make no mistake – Charlie Hunnam has been in the game for a while and will be for a long time. We just received news earlier today that the British Star of acclaimed Series Sons of Anarchy is about to become a Megastar.
Only in June was it announced that Sam Tayl0r-Johnson would be helming this Adaptation of E.L. James’ wildly popular Novels and now it has been confirmed that Charlie Hunnam is tied (pardon the pun) to the coveted role of Christian Grey for which many of Hollywood’s A-List Actors have been vying for. Don’t be shocked though, as Hunnam‘s Career has seen some daring moves including a fearless performance in 1999’s original Queer as Folk Series as as Nathan Maloney.
Confirmed in the Lead Actress Role of Anastasia Steele is Dakota Johnson, Daughter of Stars Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. Having sharpened her skills starring in now-defunct Comedy Series Ben and Kate, she also has appeared in popular Films like 21 Jump Street, The Social Network, Beastly and The Five-Year Engagement.
50 Shades of Grey centers on the intense, erotic relationship between a Student and a 27-year-old Billionaire. The Series of Novels by James has sold over 70-million Copies worldwide.
We had the pleasure of meeting both the Director Taylor-Johnson and Hunnam in 2012. Both are amazingly wonderful. Read more here and here.
Hunnam is set to return to Toronto this Fall to film Guillermo del Toro‘s Crimson Peak.
50 Shades of Grey releases August 1, 2014 via Focus Features & Universal Pictures.
See ours and Hunnam‘s Snap below:
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong/Vintage Books)
Although it’s not quite exactly the news we’re all waiting on, this will do for now! Nowhere Boy Director/Visual Artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, has just been announced as the Director of upcoming Erotic-Romance 50 Shades of Grey. The hotly-buzzed Film Adaptation of the Bestseller by E.L. James is still being scripted and the Author took to Twitter today to announce: “I’m delighted & thrilled to let you guys know that Sam Taylor-Johnson has agreed to direct the Film of Fifty Shades of Grey.”.
Several Actors and Actresses have been named to be in the running for the coveted roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, a Business Magnate and Student whom are – pardon the pun – bound initially by their highly dominant/submissive sexual relations. We’re all still eagerly awaiting the casting choices for the Universal Pictures Production.
We had the pleasure of meeting Tayl0r-Johnson in Toronto last Fall as she accompanied Husband Aaron at the Premiere of his Film Anna Karenina. Lovely Woman. She was actually incredibly shocked anyone wanted a Photo with her!
See our Snap:
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