The cast for Lee Daniels‘ The United States Vs. Billie Holiday has just been announced via a Deadline article. The biopic, which is about famous jazz singer Billie Holiday, was inspired by Johann Hari’s New York Times Best Seller Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.
The cast all have impressive resumes. Andra Day, who has been nominated for multiple Grammys and an NAACP award, will play the lead role as Billie Holiday as she is investigated by the Federal Department of Narcotics led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher. The film will follow Holiday’s affair with Fletcher, her addiction to drugs, her fame and all the heartbreak that comes with it. The rest of the cast consists of Bird Box and Moonlight actor Trevante Rhodes, Mudbound and Tron actor Garrett Hedlund, and Russian Doll and Orange Is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne.
Daniels said of the project, “It is an extraordinary responsibility to tell the story of the iconic Billie Holiday. 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.”
The script was written by Suzan-Lori Parks, who is the first African American woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her play Topdog/Underdog. Director Lee Daniels is a two-time Oscar winning director for the 2009 drama Precious, that starred Gabourey Sidibe. Daniels has been attached to the project for over a year now.
Though casting information other than Day’s hasn’t been released, we will continue to update with more information regarding roles and production.