Does father know best? Mitch Winehouse’s critics would probably disagree. Production on Sam Taylor-Johnson’s new Amy Winehouse biopic, Back To Black, has begun, and fans have taken issue with the images that have circulated so far. Yet Mitch—who, as both a parent and administrator of his late daughter’s estate, gave the film his full support—has no issue with the movie so far.
Speaking with TMZ, Mitch dismisses comments saying actor Marisa Abela doesn’t look enough like the real-life Amy. In his view, there’s “too much emphasis on looks,” and actors don’t have to look exactly like the people they portray. He cites Cary Grant’s portrayal of Cole Porter in Night And Day as a specific example of this phenomenon. (Not to mention Eddie Marsan, who plays Mitch in Amy, “doesn’t look anything like him either.”)
He’s right, of course—in fact, one could argue that Hollywood has become overly reliant on physical resemblance (Christian Bale in Vice, Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, Jessica Chastain in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye). Yet Abela’s lack of resemblance to Amy is far from the only complaint about the set images that have emerged. New photos from the filming of a scene in which Amy’s husband Blake Fielder-Civil (played by Jack O’Connell) is arrested while Amy looks on in tears have been decried as exploitative. “can we actually stop making biopics of late celebrities? let them rest,” reads one of the many tweets on the subject. “y’all fucking bullied amy winehouse for being a ‘druggie’ and now you wanna make money from making movies from her? LET HER REST!!!!!”
Further, Mitch Winehouse’s involvement at all has caused some fans to be suspicious. The 2015 Amy documentary gave some the impression that Mitch had exploited his daughter and enabled her addiction while she was alive. (Mitch denounced Asif Kapadia’s film for portraying him in such a negative light.) According to Variety, Sam Taylor-Johnson was a “close friend” of the deceased singer, but that has not stymied fans’ fears about the 50 Shades Of Gray director’s take on Amy’s life. Only time will tell, but such a negative reaction while the film is still in production certainly casts a pall over the biopic’s chances for success.