Marisa Abela reveals she ditched posh pals in school to hang out in the park


Marisa Abela has revealed she ditched her posh school pals to go and drink in the park during her younger days.

The actress, 26 – who is playing Amy Winehouse in the new biopic Back To Black – grew up in the village of Rottingdean, near Brighton.

Speaking to the Soho House website, Marisa told how she tried to blend in with her peers by adopting a posh accent and wearing Jack Wills clothing but soon gave up.

Candid: Marisa Abela has revealed she ditched her posh school pals to go and drink in the park during her younger days

She said: ‘I was either trying to be like them or extremely not like them. I was like, if you can’t beat them, join them. And if you can’t join them, f**k ’em.’ 

‘I went the complete opposite way. Like, ‘ello!’ I didn’t brush my hair. I’d spend Fridays and Saturdays with girls from the local area, drinking a two-litre bottle of Strongbow in the park. My poor mum.’

The upcoming film, directed by 50 Shades Of Grey’s Sam Taylor-Johnson, began filming this week.

Marisa was seen on set sporting Amy’s signature beehvie hairdo alongside actor Eddie Marsan who is playing Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse. 

Role: The actress, 26 - who is playing Amy Winehouse (pictured) in the new biopic Back To Black - grew up in the village of Rottingdean, near Brighton

Role: The actress, 26 – who is playing Amy Winehouse (pictured) in the new biopic Back To Black – grew up in the village of Rottingdean, near Brighton

Transformation: Marisa was seen on set sporting Amy's signature beehvie hairdo alongside actor Eddie Marsan who is playing Amy's father Mitch Winehouse

Loss: Amy died from alcohol poisoning aged 27 in 2011

Transformation: Marisa was seen on set sporting Amy’s signature beehvie hairdo alongside actor Eddie Marsan who is playing Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse

The actress was just nine years old when Amy released her best known album Back To Black.

Marisa cited Amy as an inspiration to her, saying she always listened to her music while growing up.

She said: ‘I was really the perfect age. I grew up hearing her music. I was very young when the songs came out, so I don’t think I realised then how much of an amazing poet she was.’

Although she has not sang in any of her previous acting work, Marisa is thought to possess an alto vocal range like Amy.

Early days: Marisa told how she tried to blend in with her peers by adopting a posh accent and wearing Jack Wills clothing but soon gave up (pictured in December 2022)

Early days: Marisa told how she tried to blend in with her peers by adopting a posh accent and wearing Jack Wills clothing but soon gave up (pictured in December 2022)

She previously told The Cut: ‘I’m quite shy but I sing constantly at home.

‘I live above a florist, who overheard me singing, and she gave me a big round of applause and a bunch of flowers as if I were an opera star.’

Marisa confirmed she had won the role of Amy with an Instagram post where she sported a gold necklace with the words ‘Amy Jade’. 

Marisa is known for her role in BBC and HBO drama Industry and will appear in the Barbie movie, set for release in July 2023.

The film is expected to follow Amy’s 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 said: 'I was either trying to be like them or extremely not like them. I was like, if you can't beat them, join them. And if you can't join them, f*** 'em' (pictured in September 2022)

She said: ‘I was either trying to be like them or extremely not like them. I was like, if you can’t beat them, join them. And if you can’t join them, f*** ’em’ (pictured in September 2022)

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

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.

Idol: Marisa cited Amy as an inspiration to her, saying she always listened to her music while growing up

Idol: Marisa cited Amy as an inspiration to her, saying she always listened to her music while growing up 

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

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 Amy’s estate. 

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the biopic (pictured 2018)

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct the biopic (pictured 2018)



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