Kate Winslet to star in film about Lee Miller's life as a model and photographer

Kate Winslet, seen here at eh topening of Avatar: The Way of Water, is starring in a new film about the photographer Lee Miller
Kate Winslet, seen here at the opening of Avatar: The Way of Water, is starring in a new film about the photographer Lee Miller (Image credit: Getty Images)

Titanic star Kate Winslet is to star in a brand new biographical drama about Elizabeth "Lee" Miller, a photographer and photojournalist who worked for a short time as a fashion model. 

Acting alongside Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Andrea Riseborough (The Grudge), Marion Cotillard (Inception) and Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), the film will be called Lee – and is inspired by the book, The Lives of Lee Miller, by Anthony Penrose.

• 25 best films about real photographers

Lee Miller’s life was colorful, chaotic and traumatic. She was sexually abused while under the care of family friends while her mother was ill in hospital, she moved to Paris at 18 to study lighting, costume and design, and ended up becoming an assistant and model to Man Ray, a contributor to the Dada and surrealist movement.

The film has already been seven years in the making, with production having started in 2005 and since then, Alexander Skarsgård has replaced Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts) in the role of Roland Penrose – Miller’s second husband, historian and surrealist painter. 

Lee focuses on just a decade of Lee Miller’s adventure-crammed, ever-changing life from 1938 to 1948. During this time she helped break down prejudice about women flying aircraft. when she was employed by the civil service to document female pilots, she captured the horrors of Nazi concentration at Buchenwald, and shone a harrowing spotlight on the reality of wartorn countries for the women and children left behind.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Miller swapped the more glamorous life of studio portrait shoots in her New York City studio for life as a war photojournalist. She earned accreditation from the US Army and became a war correspondent for Conde Nast, the publisher of British Vogue. It was during this period of her life that she captured some of her most important work as a war photographer. 

Lee promises to be an engaging, heartfelt dramatization of this multi-talented women’s life. With three-time BAFTA award-winner Kate Winslet both starring as Miller and serving as a producer, and Ellan Kuras (who previously worked with Winslet on 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) as director, the strong female presence both in the cast and crew should help to deliver the powerful pro-women message that Miller was was an advocate for. 

"To me, she was a life force to be reckoned with, so much more than an object of attention from famous men with whom she is associated," Winslet said of Miller, in a release from production company Sky (thanks, Where is the Buzz).

"This photographer, writer, and the reporter did everything she did with love, lust, and courage, and is an inspiration of what you can achieve, and what you can bear if you dare to take life firmly by the hands and live it at full throttle."

The first still images from the motion have been released, showing Winslet clutching a Rolleiflex camera while wearing a camo-style boiler suit, complete with army boots walking through a war-torn area. Unsurprisingly, Winslet looks like a perfect fit for the role. 

With a trailer yet to be released, there is little more we can share about what to expect from the film – but with a star-studded cast and an extremely talented  female crew, we can only expect great things. It's likely that the film will be released sometime in 2023 but, if you can't wait until then, check out the Lee Miller Archives account on Instagram that pays homage to the late photographers' incredibly important work. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.