According to Just Jared:
Andra Day revealed that to become Billie Holiday for Hulu’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday she dived deep into the singer’s life. “There’s still a lot that I am working out in me from playing Billie,” the 36-year-old singer and actress shared in an interview about the movie. “She gets in, you know what I mean? She gets ahold.” Andra explained that while diving in psychologically , she also did physically as well.
“It was a commitment,” she shared. “I think it’s one I’m recovering from still. I’d never smoked cigarettes before. Just starting out smoking, I was practicing with my acting coach … I was like, ‘I want some of your American Spirits. That first day I was drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes, and I went home and threw up, like, five times!” Andra added that she was able to quit after they “finished the last pickup shots last year. But what I expected to be a four-, five- or six-month habit ended up turning into about a year and a half.” On top of the smoking, Andra also started to drink as well. Billie actually died in 1959 of complications from cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse.
The film hails from director Lee Daniels from a script by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and co-stars Trevante Rhodes as Jimmy Fletcher, the agent sent to infiltrate Holiday’s circle and spy for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“It’s a moment in time,” Daniels says. “It’s not a straight-on biopic, but it happened. Everything happened. It’s all documented, so it’s not like it didn’t happen. But it’s [also] a musical. And it’s just my storytelling. It’s what happens when we all get together and tell a story, a Black story.”