Andra Day In Montreal To Star In Billie Holiday Biopic


Andra Day will be in Montreal this fall to play jazz icon Billie Holiday in a feature biopic that will be directed by Lee Daniels.

Cameras will roll on Billie from Oct. 6 to Dec. 7. The movie, written by Suzan-Lori Parks based on a novel by Johann Hari, is set in the 1940s and early ‘50s. 

Day, 34, is the R&B singer whose 2015 debut album and its hit single “Rise Up” earned a pair of Grammy nominations. She voiced Sweet Tea in Cars 3 and had a small role in 2017’s Marshall.

Daniels, creator of music series Empire, has not directed a feature film since 2013’s The Butler. He earned an Oscar nomination for directing 2009’s Precious.

Billie has been in the works for over a year and was originally scheduled to be shot in New Orleans.

Holiday, who was 44 when she died in 1959, had an impressive music career and a tumultuous personal life. She battled addictions to alcohol and drugs and was arrested several times for possession of narcotics – including once as she lay dying in her hospital bed.

Diana Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Holiday in 1972's Lady Sings the Blues and Audra McDonald scored a Tony nomination for playing Holiday in the 2016 play Lady’s Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.

Although Montreal will be doubling for U.S. cities in Billie, Holiday did have ties to the city. She was one of several famous jazz artists who performed at the now defunct Montreal club Rockhead’s Paradise.

Casting is currently underway for black men and women of all ages to work as extras in Billie.

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