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Sam Buchanan

23rd April 2024

Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani

Photography: Joseph Sinclair

Styling: Bethany Knight

Playing the role of Nick Shymansky also known to be Amy Winehouse's music manager in the new biopic 'Back to Black',  Sam Buchanan chats to us about his time on set, facing challenges and future biopics he would love to see made.

Hi Sam! Congratulations on the release of ‘Back to Black’. What’s the reaction been like since the film came out? 

It’s been fantastic. It’s so lovely Amy’s story and legacy is reaching such an enormous amount of people. It’s such a privilege to be a part of telling her story. 

You play the role of Nick Shymansky who was known to be the late Amy Winehouse’s music manager. What was it like to play this role and portray a character who was part of Amy’s life?

It’s a part that comes with responsibility. As an actor, playing any non-fictional person comes with a pressure to tell that persons story in the most honest way possible. To be able to embody someone so close to Amy and really connect with their relationship was a joyous and quite moving experience. 

Did you have to face any challenges with this?

One challenge was physical prep. I felt a responsibility to embody Nick as much as possible, so I gained around 8kg in 7 weeks for the part. We also had ‘face plumpers’ made for me to wear in my mouth which rounded my face out on camera. Fortunately to find Nicks’ ‘likeness’, there is lots of footage out there available of Nick and Amy together (on early tours, gigs, hanging out). This gave me lots of reference points to understand him and their friendship.

Amy’s album ‘Back to Black’ was released in 2006. Do you remember hearing this album for the first time and where were you when this all came out?

2006 I would have been nine, most probably playing football out the front of my house in a cul-de-sac in Kent. Amy to me was the person we all knew her to be from being plastered all over the papers and magazines by the press. This project has allowed me to understand that that was a manipulated/paraded version of Amy, not the real Amy. 

There have been a lot of biopics released recently such as Rocketman, One Love (Bob Marley’s story) and now ‘Back to Black’ only naming a few. Is there a musician you would love to see hit the big screen? 

I was funnily enough literally thinking the other day when is someone going to make a Frank Sinatra biopic, and i’ve just seen it's apparently being made with Leo DiCaprio in the title role. Buzzing for that! I’m a huge fan of swing/easy listening and Sinatra is iconic. Leo DiCaprio sing though? 

Are there any other roles you would like to sink your teeth in to?

I would love to be involved in a musical. I know the ‘Last 5 Years’ has been done, but something along those lines would be a challenge but exciting for a secret musical theatre nerd like me (not so secret anymore). 

Lastly, have you got any upcoming projects we need to look out for?

I do but It’s all very boring! I’ve recently just wrapped on a feature film for Amazon which is currently NDA’d , and i’m shooting on a new UK TV series which my casting also hasn’t been announced in yet, so currently have NOTHING to shout about! Keep your eyes peeled. 

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