Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Billie Holiday Biopic Starring Andra Day Reportedly In The Works
Once you've watched jazz legend Billie Holiday's haunting performance of one of her signature songs, "Strange Fruit," it's an emotional experience that will likely stick with you awhile. So it should come as no surprise that an award-winning director would want to take on a film project centered on the singer's colorful life.
Variety reports that Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels ("Empire") is currently in talks to helm the Holiday biopic Billie. Though details have not been confirmed, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Andra Day has been identified as the first choice for the lead role while actor Lakeith Stanfield is in consideration for the male lead. Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum will serve as producers and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has been tasked with writing the script.
Holiday's life and career cemented her as one of the most influential singers in history. Lady Day, as she was also known, started singing in Harlem, N.Y., in the 1930s and continued to perform until her death in 1959. She earned two GRAMMY nominations and was honored with the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award for her indelible role in music in 1987.
Daniels' project about Holiday's life and career wouldn't be the first. Diana Ross immortalized Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings The Blues and Holiday's life also featured in a 1986 play by Lanie Robertson titled "Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill."
Though nothing is settled as of yet for Daniels' film interpretation, sources are hopeful these latest developments will lead to a start in production as early as this year. Until then, we'll have to stay "Fine And Mellow" for the "Summertime."