The complicated story of prolific World War II photographer Lee Miller — from surviving sexual abuse at the hands of her own father, her numerous romantic liaisons with European elite, to being one of the first to capture the horrors of Dachau — is set to be brought to the big screen.
Oscar-winner Kate Winslet will portray Miller in “Lee,” with Alexander Skarsgård as Roland Penrose, an English Surrealist painter, photographer, poet and Lee’s paramour.
According to Deadline, filming is currently ongoing and will be the directorial debut of cinematographer Ellen Kuras (“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”).
Others on the cast include Andy Samberg (“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) will play the role of Life Magazine photographer David E. Scherman; Marion Cotillard as Solange D’Ayen, the fashion director of French Vogue and a personal friend of Miller’s; and Josh O’Connor (“The Crown,” “The Durrells”) as Tony, a young journalist.
The film itself is not a biopic but focuses on the decade and the war that irrevocably altered the adventurous life of Miller, who was beloved by her peers and GIs alike.
The film’s log line describes Miller as “a middle-aged woman [who] refused to be remembered as a model and male artists’ muse. … She defied the expectations and rules of the time and traveled to Europe to report from the frontline. There, in part as a reaction to her own well-hidden trauma, she used her Rolleiflex camera to give a voice to the voiceless. What Lee captured on film in Dachau and throughout Europe was shocking. Her photographs of the war, its victims and its consequences remain among the most historically important [of the conflict]. She changed war photography forever, but Lee paid an enormous personal price for what she witnessed and the stories she fought to tell.”
Vogue reports that the film, due out sometime next summer, drew heavily from the biography “The Lives of Lee Miller” by Antony Penrose, Miller’s son with Penrose.
And while Antony himself wrote that Lee was a depressive alcoholic and a terrible mother, her contribution to the war, nevertheless, was profound.
Miller was the first and only wartime photographer to record the first Allied use of napalm at St. Malo, France, and acted a witness to the horrors of the Holocaust. Her photographs of the liberation of Dachau were widely spread by the Allies as evidence of Nazi crimes.
One of her photographs of Buchenwald famously captured a liberated 16-year-old Elie Wiesel.
At the time, Miller cabled back to Vogue what she had witnessed. In her report, she simply wrote “Believe it” — which became the subsequent title of her work featured in American Vogue.
“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 her character. “This photographer, writer, 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.”
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