ABC/Craig SjodinMany have compared Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day to the late, great Billie Holiday. Now, she’ll portray the legendary jazz singer onscreen in a new movie directed and produced by Lee Daniels.
The United States vs. Billie Holiday focuses on one particular aspect of Holiday’s career: the fact that she was targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics targeted her with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she’d had an affair.
The movie was also inspired by the 2015 New York Times bestseller Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.
“It is an extraordinary responsibility to tell the story of the iconic Billie Holiday,” says Daniels in a statement. “Her story is very personal to me and I hope to do justice when bringing to light this profound and complicated soul — a great artist and an unsung civil rights warrior.”
In addition to Day, the cast also includes Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, and Natasha Lyonne. Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize, is writing the script. Her credits include TopDog/Underdog and Native Son.
The movie will start shooting next month in Montreal. It will be the first film Daniels has directed since 2013’s drama The Butler.