Eddie Marsan even tried to smell like Amy Winehouse's father in Back to Black

The actor even bought Mitch Winehouse's aftershave as part of his efforts to become the late singer's dad and manager in the new biopic.

Marisa Abela and Eddie Marsan filming the Amy Winehouse biopic. (STAR MAX)
Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse and Eddie Marsan asMitch Winehouse filming biopic Back To Black. (STAR MAX)

What did you miss?

Eddie Marsan has revealed he even tried to smell like Amy Winehouse's father in a bid to become him for new biopic Back To Black.

The actor – known for roles in Sherlock Holmes and Ray Donavon – plays the late singer's father and manager Mitch Winehouse in the new film about her rise and fall directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Marsan, 55, appeared on The One Show to discuss the extreme lengths he went to in order to become Mitch Winehouse in the movie. Marsan said it was very important to him that his performance was not simply doing an impression.

What, how and why?

Jack O'Connell, Marisa Abela, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Eddie Marsan attend the world premiere of
Eddie Marsan stars with Jack O'Connell and Marisa Abela inSam Taylor-Johnson's Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black. (Getty Images)

Marsan is cast as Mitch Winehouse in the new film, opposite Marisa Abela as Rehab singer Amy, who died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 in 2011. Happy-Go-Lucky star Marsan revealed he knew a friend of Mitch Winehouse before he accepted the role, and he asked them what kind of man he was like.

He told hosts Lauren Laverne and Jermaine Jenas: "I knew someone who worked with Mitch and Amy in the music industry. And I knew they were going to approach me to play Mitch and I asked a friend of mine, I wasn't interesting in the narrative that was out there, I said, 'I want you to tell me what Mitch was like. And he said, 'I like the man.'

"He said, 'I thought he was a loving father but he was in an impossible situation. He had a daughter who was an addict and she was the most famous woman in the world, she was hounded by the paparazzi, she had unlimited resources of money, every drug dealer in London wanted to give her drugs.

"He was trying to do his best to save her but he made mistakes. And I know, I've got four teenagers and I love my kids but I make mistakes. And I wouldn't have played it if it sanitised him or demonised him, I wanted to play a human being."

Mitch Winehouse attends a private view of The Amy Winehouse Foundation: Hope at Century Club on September 13, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Mitch Winehouse had a close relationship with his daughter, the late singer Amy Winehouse. (Getty Images)

Marsan then met with Mitch and asked him minute details about his life in order to perfect his portrayal.

He explained: "I asked Mitch for loads of photographs, I'm not an academic person at all, I left school at 15, but I'm very visceral I take in information, music and sound and images. I asked him for photographs of his grandparents and where he went to school.

"I asked him to give me a playlist of his favourite music, what aftershave he wears. I asked him to sing Fly Me To The Moon to me, because I have to sing it in the film. You don't want to do an impression, you're trying to honour a story in the emotional context."

Marsan added: "The comfortable narrative for everybody was that there was someone to blame. That it was either Blake [Civil-Fielder, her husband] or Mitch. And you create a narrative of Amy as a victim. And the reason that's comfortable is you think, 'If my daughter doesn't marry someone like Blake, or I don't behave like Mitch then my daughter will be okay.'

"But that's not how addiction works. Addiction is arbitrary and it's cruel. What I love about this film and the reason I'm so proud of it is the main villain is addiction. And also the paparazzi. That's why these programmes are called Alcoholics Anonymous – you need anonymity to deal with these problems, and she was never afforded that."

What else happened on The One Show?

Michael Palin during day 2 of Good Housekeeping Live, in partnership with Dyson, on November 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Getty Images for Hearst UK)
Michael Palin recalled being a neighbour of the late Amy Winehouse. (Getty Images for Hearst UK)

Monty Python star and travel documentary presenter Sir Michael Palin, who was also a guest on the show, revealed he had been a neighbour of Amy Winehouse and witnessed how much she was hounded by the paparazzi.

He said: "I lived in Camden, she lived in Camden and all these people were writing to the paper all the time saying, 'Oh we've got to get rid of her! All these people following her everywhere! We can't sleep at night."

The One Show airs on BBC One at 7pm Monday to Friday.

Back to Black premieres in cinemas on Friday, 12 April

Read more: Back To Black

Watch: 'He's a human being': Eddie Marsan on Mitch Winehouse