Andra Day “abused” her body while getting ready to play Billie Holiday.
During Variety‘s “Actors on Actors”, Day spoke to Leslie Odom Jr. about getting ready for Hulu’s “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”.
“I basically abused my body for a long time,” she admitted. “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.”
And the preparation didn’t stop there.
“I put my family through it; I put myself through it…I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds,” she added. “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.”
Day also spoke about the “victory” and “pain” in Holiday’s voice and how she changed the way she sang to match that.
“Every time I would sing a song I’d go, OK, [Lee Daniels’] going to hear this and he’s going to fire me. But I wouldn’t have done it if they’d been, ‘Do it in your voice.’ That for me would have probably been a no,” she said.
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” will be released on Hulu on Feb. 26.