‘Lee’ first look: Kate Winslet plays World War II photographer Lee Miller

We’ve got a sneak peek at Kate Winslet‘s new period drama movie!

The Titanic star is playing iconic fashion model Lee Miller, who went on to become a pioneering American war correspondent and photographer covering the Second World War in Europe for British 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,” commented Winslet, who’s also a producer on the film.

“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.”

Shot on location in Croatia, Hungary and London last year, Lee is the directorial debut of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind cinematographer Ellen Kuras.

Rather than being a a biopic of Miller’s whole life, the movie instead focuses in on her most significant decade of life.

“As a middle-aged woman, she refused to be remembered as a model and male artists’ muse,” the official synopsis explains.

“Lee Miller defied the expectations and rules of the time and travelled 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 and horrific. Her photographs of the war, its victims and its consequences remain among the most significant and historically important of the second world war.

“She changed war photography forever, but Lee paid an enormous personal price for what she witnessed and the stories she fought to tell.”

This sounds really good, and Winslet is surrounded by a great supporting cast too.

She’s joined by American actor Andy Samberg as Life Magazine photographer David E. Scherman, Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) as English Surrealist painter, photographer, poet and biographer Roland Penrose – taking over from the previously announced Jude Law – and Marion Cotillard (Inception) as Solange D’Ayen, the fashion director of French Vogue and close friend of Miller’s.

Oscar-nominated English actress Andrea Riseborough plays British Vogue Editor Audrey Withers, while Josh O’Connor from The Durrells and The Crown is playing Miller’s son, Anthony Penrose.

There’s a brilliant biography written by her Penrose, titled The Lives of Lee Miller, which is well worth a read if you’re interested in Lee Miller’s life and work.

Lee premiered at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival in September, receiving a positive reaction from critics.

ScreenDaily called the film “a satisfyingly textured portrait of a remarkable and unusual woman,” while RobertEbert.com wrote: “Like Miller’s wartime photographs, Lee asks you to look at subjects you think you already know from a different angle and witness what should never be forgotten.”

Lee will be released in cinemas and on Sky in the UK next year.

Antony Penrose’s book The Lives of Lee Miller is available on Amazon.