Lee Daniels is in talks to direct Billie, a biopic of inimitable jazz singer Billie Holiday. The director previously scored Academy Award nominations as producer and director of 2009’s Precious, and is now turning his attention towards helming this script from Suzan Lori-Parks, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for her drama Topdog/Underdog.
The project is in the very early stages of development, but singer/songwriter Andra Day is already being discussed for the title role, with Lakeith Stanfield under consideration for the male lead. Producers Joe Roth and Jeff Kirshenbaum have been developing the film alongside Mark Bomback, Daniels and Lori-Parks.
Holiday’s legendary career spanned three decades before her passing in 1959. Her iconic performing style has inspired artists across many generations, and she’s actually already had one Hollywood biopic about her already: 1972’s Lady Sings The Blues, which starred Diana Ross.
The film is still looking for a studio and it is still unknown when production will get underway. But with deals close to wrapping up, the hope is that the film will begin shooting before the end of the year.
Empire, the show Daniels co-created and writes and directs, is currently on hiatus, and he’s reportedly been looking for his next feature film for some time. He hasn’t directed a film since 2013’s box office hit The Butler, so once he signs on to helm this, Billie shouldn’t have much problem attracting a studio to distribute the film.