×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lee Daniels in Talks to Direct Billie Holiday Biopic, Andra Day Eyed to Star (EXCLUSIVE)

With his hip hop drama “Empire” already renewed for a fifth season, Lee Daniels is setting his sights on a real-world musical icon for his next feature film.

Sources tell Variety that Daniels is in talks to direct the Billie Holiday biopic “Billie.” Sources also add that R&B singer Andra Day is the top choice for the title role and Lakeith Stanfield for the male role, though nothing is yet finalized for either thesp.

Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum are producing, with Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks penning the script which is using “Chasing the Scream: The First & Last Days of the War on Drugs” by Johann Hari as the source material. Mark Bomback had been developing this project with Roth and Kirschenbaum since its inception and is an executive producer on it. He had helped guide the development process with Daniels and Parks.

Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” was a legendary jazz singer whose career spanned three decades before her passing in 1959. Her iconic performing style has influenced and inspired artists and jazz musicians for years to come.

Hollywood has already shown its appreciation for Holiday with a 1972 biopic starring Diana Ross, followed by a 1986 Broadway play, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”

With “Empire” on hiatus, Daniels had been looking for a next feature gig for some time, and it was his admiration for the legendary singer that originally drew him to the project.

The film is still looking for a studio and it is unknown when production would get under way, but with deals firming, the hope is for shooting to start before the end of the year.

Daniels hasn’t directed a film since the box office hit “The Butler,” instead putting most of his focus on his hit TV shows “Empire” and “Star.” He is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

More Music

  • Pink Hurts 2B Human album

    Album Review: Pink's 'Hurts 2B Human'

    You’d never want to reduce a Pink album strictly to the math, but the strength of her records tends to have a pretty strong correlation to two factors: the number of Max Martin/Shellback productions and the amount of F-bombs dropped. Now, put those two together, and it’s pure gold, but either one is a pretty [...]

  • Beetlejuice review

    Broadway Review: 'Beetlejuice'

    “Such a bold departure from the original source material!” wisecracks the odd-looking fellow sitting on a coffin at the start of the Broadway musical “Beetlejuice.” The weird, nasty and outrageous title character is talking about a short lament just sung by a sad teen at her mother’s gravesite, as he breaks the fourth wall (“Holy [...]

  • Ron HowardBreakthrough Prize, Arrivals, NASA Ames

    Ron Howard Talks New Luciano Pavarotti Documentary

    If one is an anomaly, two are a coincidence and three are a trend, then Ron Howard might strictly become a music documentarian after “Pavarotti” hits theaters. The documentary about the world-famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti comes on the heels of Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and “Made in America,” a look at [...]

  • Ariana Grande Olivia Munn Michael Che

    Celebrities vs. Critics: Why This Battle Has No Winners (Column)

    When actor Olivia Munn tweeted a “short essay on…ugly behaviors” late Wednesday night, she insisted that a blog had been unfairly maligning her for years. She wrote that she wanted to confront the idea that baseless critiques, particularly those aimed at women, are never okay no matter how famous the target may be. On the [...]

  • Shannon Hoon

    Blind Melon Frontman's Home Movies Captivate in Tribeca Doc 'All I Can Say'

    For a period of five years, Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon diligently chronicled his own life, videotaping himself with a Hi-8 video camera through every step of his musical journey — starting out in Indiana, through his meteoric rise to alt-rock icon, up to the day of his death in 1995. These captivating moments finally [...]

  • Single Review: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Hello Sunshine’

    Single Review: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Hello Sunshine’

    Bruce Springsteen’s new single, “Hello Sunshine,” doesn’t officially arrive until midnight, but the Boss knows which side his bread is buttered on and has allowed SiriusXM’s E Street Radio to play the song earlier on Thursday — which it has, multiple times, although his voice is basically the only thing in the single that sounds [...]

  • Chvrches Slam Marshmello for Working With

    Chvrches Slam Marshmello for Working With Chris Brown and Tyga

    Chvrches took to social media today to criticize collaborator Marshmello for working with Chris Brown and Tyga on his new single, “Light It Up.” “We are really upset, confused and disappointed by Marshmello’s choice to work with Tyga and Chris Brown,” the band tweeted. “We like and respect Mello as a person but working with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content