January 12, 2021
Hulu acquired the rights to Lee Daniels’ Billie Holiday biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday last year, and now the streaming platform has dropped a new trailer.
The film, which is set to be Andra Day’s on-camera feature film debut (she previously had a cameo in Cars 3), focuses on the singer’s tragic life and the FBI’s extensive efforts to derail her career. It is alleged that the agency first targeted Holiday for her history with substance abuse, but the real reason behind the agency’s efforts was due to her increasing popularity with songs such as her version of “Strange Fruit.”
The trailer offers our first look at Day’s take on the legendary jazz singer, who seems to be giving one hell of a debut performance. The film is adapted from the 2015 book on the war on drugs, Chasing the Scream. The rest of the cast is rounded out by the likes of Trevante Rhodes as Jimmy Fletcher, Garrett Hedlund as Harry J. Anslinger, and Natasha Lyonne as Tallulah Bankhead among others.
“When you think of Civil Rights leaders, you think of men. When you think of Billie Holiday, you think of this brilliant tortured jazz singer that happened to have been a drug addict,” Lee Daniels told the Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t know that she kicked off the Civil Rights movement. Before there was a Civil Rights movement, there was Billie Holiday and ‘Strange Fruit.’ The government saw that song as a threat and she was a target. That’s history and they keep it from us.”
The Hulu original is set to debut on the platform on Feb. 26.