The lady who sings the blues is headed back to the silver screen. On Wednesday evening, Deadline reported that Paramount Pictures won the rights to Oscar-nominated director and producer Lee Daniels’s first film in almost a decade, The United States vs. Bille Holiday, in a whopping eight-figure deal after a competitive auction via Cannes Virtual Market. With a script penned by Pulitzer Prize winner Susan-Lori Parks, the film stars “Rise Up” singer-songwriter Andra Day as Holiday with a supporting cast that includes Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne, and High Fidelity’s Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
As the title suggests, the The United States vs. Billie Holiday follows legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday and her involvement in a sting operation set by the Federal Department of Narcotics. The film began shooting in October 2019 and is currently in post-production. It’s produced by New Slate Ventures, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Roth Kirschenbaum Films with Jordan Fudge, Lee Daniels, Pamela Oas Williams, Tucker Tooley, Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum. “With the world’s eyes forced to look at the centuries-old oppression of Black people, I hope The United States vs. Billie Holiday will add to this important conversation by shining a light on systemic racism and social injustice,” said Daniels when the film was first announced as part of the Cannes Virtual Market. “I also feel that in this time of great reckoning it is essential we celebrate the life and artistry of an unsung Civil Rights warrior, Billie Holiday.” The 819 new Academy members should take note of this project because it sounds like a real awards contender.