Why Lee Daniels didn’t want Andra Day to audition for Billie Holiday

[Andra Day’s] The name had occurred to me over and over again, by my agents, by his agents and other friends, the casting director. I hate being told, as you know, Oprah, I hate being told what to do. Then I didn’t see her. But I got in my car and I sat down and talked to her, and I saw this vulnerable, very vulnerable woman who wanted to do Billie good. And she was talking to herself about her work, I had never seen him before in my life, but she was talking to herself about her work. Are you sure you want me to audition for this? and I couldn’t believe it, I’m convincing her to audition and I don’t want her to. So I sent her out with my best friend and acting coach, Tasha Smith, and my other best friend, Tom Jones, a vocal coach, and they beat her left and right and threw her in the ring with me. And she came to the audition and it was the birth of a soul. I hadn’t witnessed anything like that before, so I knew it was God who was speaking and I had to honor Him, and there was no question about it.


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