Oscar nominated director of feature documentary The Betrayal, Ellen Kuras, will direct Oscar winner Kate Winslet as Vogue cover model turned war correspondent, Lee Miller. Golden Globe-nominated screenwriter Liz Hannah (The Post, Long Shot) is adapting the project from the Anthony Penrose (Lee’s son) book The Lives of Lee Miller and will executive produce.
Penrose and the Miller estate have granted the production unprecedented access to The Lee Miller Archives, which include all of her photos and diaries. A spring 2021 production is being eyed.
Winslet has been attached to this project for some time, which was previously set up at eOne. This time, Rocket Science is financing and producing and also handling foreign sales. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group will co-represent the film’s domestic rights.
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The project follows Lee Miller as she travels to the frontlines of World War II as a photojournalist and embarks on a mission to expose the hidden truths of the Third Reich. But in the aftermath of betrayal, she comes to a reckoning about the truths of her own past. Hopscotch features’ Troy Lum and Andrew Mason reamin aboard as producers with Winslet.
“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,” said Kuras.
Added Kuras, “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. This is a fortuitous collaboration that will bring forth the magic of Lee – in the power of this character, how she will be embodied, and in the singular perspective of this story, how it is told and who is telling it. Lee Miller was known for the way the world saw her, but now we can show that her greatest contribution came from how she saw the world.”
“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, said Winslet. “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.”
“Kate Winslet, Ellen Kuras and Lee Miller. My job is an easy one today,” said Hannah.
“Lee Miller’s life combined courage and love and art, and the inspiration of her story has never been more needed, said Hopscotch Features’ Lum and Mason in a joint statement. “We are honoured to be working with three incredible filmmakers to bring it to audiences.”
As a DP, Kuras’ body of work has spanned narrative and documentary films, music videos and commercials. She is one of the few female members of the American Society of Cinematographers, known for her work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She is the three-time winner of the Award for Excellence in Dramatic Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2008, she released 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’s screenplay for The Post earned her a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nomination as well as the Paul Selvin Honorary Award at the WGAs. The Steven Spielberg-directed drama was nominated for two Oscars: Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep). Hannah is also a WGA Award nominee for her work on David Fincher’s Mindhunter for which Hannah was a writer and producer. Her other work includes Long Shot and Netflix’s All The Bright Places, the latter of which she also executive produced. Most recently, Hannah wrote and executive produced the upcoming limited series The Dropout for Fox Searchlight and Hulu.
Winslet is represented by CAA and United Agents; Kuras is represented by UTA; and Hannah by Echo Lake Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman.
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