Lee Daniels Might Direct a Billie Holiday Biopic Starring Andra Day

Illustration for article titled Lee Daniels Might Direct a Billie Holiday Biopic Starring Andra Day
Image: AP; Getty

In what feels like mad libs of some talented entertainment folks working together to pay tribute to an iconic artist, Lee Daniels, the producer behind Empire and Precious, is in talks to direct a Billie Holiday biopic starring R&B singer Andra Day.


According to Variety, nothing has been totally finalized but “sources say” Lakeith Stanfield (the dreamboat from Atlanta and Get Out) is favored for the “male lead.” The issue here is that, in Holiday’s considerable career, from the early 1930s up until her death in 1959, there were a lot of men in her periphery—partners, managers, industry heads. If this project takes a page from the 1972 biopic, Lady Sings the Blues, where the ineffable Diana Ross plays Holiday, it’s likely that Stanfield will portray Louis McKay, Holiday’s late-in-life husband.

Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum (formerly of Universal) are slated to produce the pic and Suzan-Lori Parks, the playwright and first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2002, will write the script.


While the project isn’t 100% confirmed, it seems very (nudge, nudge) plausible that this thing is already well underway. Hell, Empire has been on hiatus for a minute now, what better use of Daniels’ time?

Until then, some Holiday:

Opinions only sometimes my own. Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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I’ve always though Andra Day needs to play Eartha Kitt