Lee Daniels Had To Convince Andra Day To Accept Billie Holiday Role: She Didn’t Believe She Could Do It

Lee Daniels Had To Convince Andra Day To Accept Billie Holiday Role: She Didn’t Believe She Could Do It

Andra Day’s portrayal as the late legendary singer Billie Holiday garnered her two Golden Globe nominations, but the Rise Up songstress almost didn’t take the role.

As previously reported, Andra Day stars as Billie Holiday in Hulu’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday, directed by Lee Daniels. 

Lee Daniels confessed that he had to convince her to play the part.

“She didn’t believe that she could do it. When I met her, she was talking herself out of a job! She loved Billie Holiday and wanted to honor her.”

He added that directing the project





“affected me in a way that I had never been affected before by anything — the beauty and everything that film represented.”

While it took a little persuasion for her to take on the role, she fully emersed herself into it while filming. She previously said that she lost nearly 40 pounds and started smoking and drinking to channel the star.

Andra Day, Billie Holiday





“I basically abused my body for a long time. I’m joking and not really joking.” 

“I put my family through it; I put myself through it. I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds. I would talk like her and I don’t drink or smoke, but I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Not that I recommend people do this; I just was desperate because this is my first role.” 

The movie tells the story of Billie Holiday when she was the subject of an investigation via an undercover sting operation as she battled substance abuse issues. The Grammy-nominated singer continued and said,

“I just asked God to give me all of the pain and trauma. I asked him to give me her pain and give me her trauma.”

Now, she has received a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress — Motion Picture, Drama and for Best Original Song Tigress and Tweed. 

What are your thoughts on Andra Day not accepting the part at first? Comment and let us know.





Authored by: Char Patterson