Oscar-nominated director Ellen Kuras is set to direct the upcoming biopic Lee, which stars Kate Winslet as the Vogue cover model turned World War II correspondent. The team also includes Golden Globe-nominated screenwriter Liz Hannah (The Post, Long Shot), who will be executive producing and adapting the screenplay from the book The Lives of Lee Miller by Anthony Penrose, Lee’s son. Penrose and the Miller estate have granted the production team access to the Lee Miller archives of all her photos and diaries.
Previously set up at eONE, the project will be financed and produced by Rocket Science, with Rocket Science International handling international sales. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group will co-represent the film’s domestic rights.
Kuras, the newly assigned director, said in a statement: “Since our experience together on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kate and I have talked often about collaborating on something of our own. Lee gives us an irresistible opportunity to do that with a script written by Liz Hannah, a brilliant writer whom we admire so much.”
Lee follows Lee Miller as she travels to the front lines of World War II as a photojournalist and goes on a mission to expose the hidden truths of Nazi Germany. But in the aftermath of betrayal, she comes to a realization about the truths of her own past.
Kuras added, “Like Lee, we are living in a time where the truth is up for debate, a time when the promise of political influence is what defines right and wrong. Lee Miller had a passion to expose the truth, which led her to photographing the brutal realities of the Second World War that was publicly down-played and hushed up. This is a film which takes us on a journey that encounters loyalty and betrayal, but ultimately reveals the enigma that Lee was – as someone who buried her own hidden truths within. I am ecstatic to be a part of bringing this story to a contemporary audience”
Kate Winslet also expressed anticipation for Lee: “Lee Miller was a magnificent explosion of extremes. A woman I admire tremendously and whom I am so thrilled to be playing in this film. An extreme lover, thinker, life liver, cook, Vogue cover girl, war correspondent, icon, mother. And yet history leaves her largely misunderstood. So often viewed through the eyes or lens of a man, she has been portrayed as a wayward, brazen beauty, whose courageous achievements were side lined as a result. She was a glorious, life embracing woman.
“But beneath the glossy surface there lurked deeper stories that she hid from the people she knew and loved. She gave the world an utterly unedited version of the atrocities of war, whilst searching for her own personal resolution. I am so thrilled to be producing this, together with Troy Lum, and feel truly excited by the team we have assembled to bring this story to film, in the way Lee deserves.”
Kuras is most notable for her work in narrative and documentary films. She is known for her work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind also with Winslet. In 2008, she made her directorial debut, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), which was nominated in 2009 for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 2010, she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Non-Fiction Filmmaking for the film.
Hannah is a Golden Globe nominee and WGA award-winner for her screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and nominated for two Academy Awards: best picture and actress. Hannah is also a WGA Award nominee for her work on David Fincher’s Mindhunter. Her other work includes Long Shot and producing Netflix’s All the Bright Places. Her most recent project is The Dropout series, which she wrote and executive produced for Fox Searchlight and Hulu. On the topic of Lee, she commented, “Kate Winslet, Ellen Kuras and Lee Miller. My job is an easy one today.”
Lee is expected to start production in spring 2021.