Paramount wins bid for Lee Daniels directed Billie Holiday film

He will also be co-writing the script with Suzan-Lori Parkes and Andra Day has signed on to play music icon.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 23: Lee Daniels attends the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Lobby Arrivals at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TIME)

Looks like Paramount Pictures has won North American rights to Lee Daniels‘ new film project The United States Vs. Billie Holiday.

Daniels will be directing and producing the film about the legendary jazz singer. He will also be co-writing the script with Suzan-Lori Parkes and Andra Day has signed on to play music icon. Holiday died in 1954 at the age of 44.

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Lee Daniels participates in a panel discussion during the TIME 100 Summit 2019 (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME)

Deadline reports, “The deal happened after Sierra/Affinity unveiled four minutes of footage to international buyers, and that sparked a strong pursuit by studios with Focus Features, Sony and 101 Studios, and it came down to 101 and Paramount. The picture is in post-production, and the plan is for it to be a major awards season release in the upcoming season. The international markets are expected to sell out quickly. The North American deal was brokered by Cassian Elwes and Endeavor Content.”

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The studio reportedly made an 8-figure commitment and Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph also star in the film.

“With the world’s eyes forced to look at the centuries-old oppression of Black people, I hope The United States Vs. Billie Holiday will add to this important conversation by shining a light on systemic racism and social injustice,” Daniels said. “I also feel that in this time of great reckoning it is essential we celebrate the life and artistry of an unsung Civil Rights warrior, Billie Holiday.”

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