Trying to find someone who might be surprised that a posthumous biopic of Amy Winehouse would be up for discussion in late 2011 would probably be limited only to those who had never heard of the singer. Flabbergasted shock over the early death of Winehouse is about as likely among those familiar with her story as a positive profile of Bernie Sanders on Fox News.
The news has arrived and it may perhaps cause a small amount of surprise: Winehouse's family is okay with the idea of adapting Amy's life story to the big screen. A caveat, of course, in the form of insurance that the story is done right.
Whatever that means.
A movie about Amy Winehouse is certain of only two things. One, a big star will want desperately to play the part that could very well be darkly dramatic enough to bring home an Oscar and, two, the movie will be darkly dramatic. Winehouse in an intimate setting may have been as lighthearted a presence a Melissa McCarthy character, but her public persona is of the type that makes it highly unlikely the movie will receive anything less than an R rating.
Rumors have been floating around that Winehouse's dad held out high hopes for Lady Gaga to take on the role of his father. Mitch Winehouse has quashed those rumors amid indications that rushing into a film about his daughter is not on the board. Those two things go together like Mentos and Diet Coke. By the time the movie goes into production, Gaga's 15 minutes of fame are way more than likely to have been used up and audiences may well wonder just who in the heck that actress is playing Winehouse.
Of course, the Winehouse family might not want to wait too terribly long to move things into production. Making Hollywood size money off the tragic but thoroughly expected early death of the troubled young singer is going to begin getting into the arena of diminishing returns the longer they wait. Winehouse was hardly a household name across America for her singing at the time of her death and the connection between her outrageous embrace of controlled substances and her renown can rest upon a decided lack of musical influence only so long. In other words, Amy Winehouse is no Janis Joplin and Joplin herself would be highly unlikely to bring in truckloads of cash no matter which star might play her.
Even if the biggest young star in the world turned in the greatest performance of our lifetime as Amy Winehouse, theater audiences five years from now are going to be significantly emptier than they would be if the movie were released less than a year after Winehouse's death.
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