Andra Day recently revealed she went to the extreme to channel Billie Holiday in her debut acting role in Lee Daniels’ The United States Vs. Billie Holiday.
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. 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.
The film is about Billie Holiday in the final years of her life as she’s being targeted by a government investigation. It is slated to be released on Hulu on February 26th.
Watch the trailer below:
In an interview with Variety, Day admitted she became obsessed with everything Billie Holiday, and the internet became her point of reference for photos until she exhausted it.
I basically abused my body for a long time. I’m joking and not really joking. I got the role at the very top of 2018. Reading everything I could get my hands on. Listening to every interview. Apparently, I exhausted the internet of Billie Holiday photos. Apparently, the internet will tell you that you’ve reached the end.
Billie Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit,” about the lynching of Black Americans played a pivotal role in the film.
Day revealed it was a challenge changing her voice to sound like Billie Holiday, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
That was an early decision that we made right away to do the singing. Every time I would sing a song I’d go, OK, Lee’s going to hear this and he’s going to fire me. But I wouldn’t have done it if they’d said, ‘Do it in your voice.’ That for me would have probably been a no. There’s victory and there is pain in her voice. So to me it was just like we’ve got to get it, we have to get it, you know what I mean? It’ll have to be my interpretation of it, but it has to be there.
Watch the full Variety interview below:
Andra Day is an amazing vocalist, and her dedication and commitment to channeling Billie Holiday in her debut acting role is a testament to her character.
I’m sure she kilt it!
Please support Andra Day in her debut acting role as the iconic Billie Holiday in Lee Daniels’ The United States Vs. Billie Holiday.