Ellen Kuras has found the core cast to join Kate Winslet in her upcoming film about the life of artist and war photographer Lee Miller. Deadline reports that Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Josh O’Connor, and Andrea Riseborough have joined the cast of Lee, the story of Man Ray muse Miller who would go on to become a war correspondent for Vogue during World War II, one of a number of women documenting the atrocities of war in the mid-1940s.
The film, set to follow a very specific period of Miller’s life during which she worked as a photojournalist, stars Riseborough as Audrey Withers, the editor of British Vogue as a close friend of Miller; Cotillard as Solange D’Ayen, the fashion director of French Vogue; Law as Roland Penrose, an artist and poet who would eventually fall in love with Miller; and O’Connor as Miller’s son, Anthony Penrose. Writer Liz Hannah would go on to base her script around the latter’s books and archives about his mother, created from photographs and documents stored away in a soapbox in his family’s attic.
“This is absolutely not a biopic,” Winslet said to Deadline. “To make a story about Lee’s whole life, that’s a series worthy of HBO. What we wanted to do was find the most interesting decade in her life, the one that defined who she was and what she became because of what she went through. It was the period from 1938-1948 that took her right through the war and her most defining time. That is the story we want people to know about Lee more than the many other parts of her life.”
Lee began her professional career as a model for French artist Man Ray in the early 1930s, serving as his assistant and muse before ultimately opening her own photography studio and taking over many of Ray’s professional assignments before abandoning her partnership with him after he refused to let her grow as a photographer. She joined Vogue as a war correspondent in 1942, taking shocking photos of war victims and concentration camps that would ultimately become the motivation for Lee, according to Winslet:
“I’m surprised that a film has never been made about this incredible woman and I think the reason is her life was so vast that once you take a bite, you can’t stop chewing. She has been misunderstood and so often viewed through the lens of a man, through a male gaze because she started her life as a model and was very beautiful…A lot of war correspondents were on the front line photographing the fighting. Lee was the one who would find the young girls in the hidden brothels at Dachau, and photograph the faces of those young women. She would photograph the faces of the collaborators who had been ridiculed publicly in the square and had their heads shaved. Lee was the women who was documenting war for women through women’s eyes, for a female magazine…Through Vogue, this fashion magazine that women read, they were able to bring news of the war and show what was happening, from a woman’s perspective.”
Hannah and Winslet will executive produce Lee alongside Rocket Science, Finola Dwyer, Troy Lum, and Andrew Mason. Production is expected to begin in late summer of 2022.