Andra Day & Leslie Odom Jr. On Playing Musical Icons Billie Holiday and Sam Cooke | Actors on Actors



The pop and soul singer Andra Day transformed her body and her sound to take on the role of a late-career icon in Lee Daniels’ “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” The historical drama, to be released on Hulu, depicts the “Strange Fruit” singer in all her glorious ravages, with a painfully ruined voice and as targeted by government investigations but still possessed of her pride. A similar behind-the-icon act is pulled off by “Hamilton” Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr., whose Sam Cooke is a key player in the fiery debates among historical legends in Regina King’s Amazon film “One Night in Miami.”

The duo met for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, presented by Amazon Studios, to discuss bringing these musical icons to life with their actions and voices, and the weight the comes with playing such important historical figures.

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