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Paramount Acquires Lee Daniels’ ‘The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’

Andra Day stars as the legendary jazz singer in the biographical film

Paramount Pictures on Wednesday acquired the rights to release Lee Daniels’ next film, “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday,” a biographical film that stars Andra Day as the legendary jazz singer, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

The movie follows Holiday as she’s being targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics in an undercover sting operation led by federal agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair. The film is inspired by Holiday’s life story, and “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” examines the singer’s struggles with addiction, fame and heartbreaking love.

Endeavor Content sold the film through the Cannes virtual market after Sierra/Affinity presented a preview of the film to international buyers.

Day stars alongside Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Trevante Rhodes and Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the film that’s written by Pulitzer prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks (“Native Son”) based on the 2015 book “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” written by Johann Hari. The book is a non-fiction examination of the history and impact of drug criminalization during the period known as The War on Drugs.

“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” is being produced by New Slate Ventures, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Roth Kirschenbaum Films with Jordan Fudge, Lee Daniels, Pamela Oas Williams and Tucker Tooley. The executive producers include Hilary Shor, George Parra, Mark Bomback and Dennis Stratton. BAFTA-nominated composer Christopher Gunning will come out of retirement to design the original score, while Salaam Remi is on board as executive music producer.

News of the sale was first reported by Deadline.