As the film pivots to a Hulu release amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the first trailer has dropped for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Shadow and Act got an early premiere of the trailer that was given to Black journalists in an event featuring Daniels and stars Andra Day and Trevante Rhdoes.
Starring Day, the film will tell the story of Holiday's career, particularly the portion of her life when she became the target of the Federal Department of Narcotics. The leader of the sting operation against Holiday was her lover, Black federal agent Jimmy Fletcher (Rhodes).
Garrett Hedlund, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Natasha Lyonne, Erik LaRay Harvey, Dana Gourrier, Evan Ross, Miss Lawrence, Tristan D. Lalla and Melvin Gregg also star. The film's script was written by Suzan-Lori Parks, who in 2012 became the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Topdog/Underdog.
The film was initially set for a full theatrical release via Paramount but has changed course as Oscar season approaches and most theaters are still closed.
“Whether you are new to the story and legacy of Billie Holiday or know every note she ever sang, I do hope our celebration of this complex woman does justice to a great musical legend and civil rights activist whose artistry resonates as well today, as it did 80 years ago. Hulu releasing this film and giving it a platform to be seen nationwide is a blessing, because as recent events reveal, our country has much work to do in fulfilling its promise of a more perfect union,” said Lee Daniels.
It will drop on Hulu Feb. 26.
Watch the trailer below: