Kate Winslet’s latest role in “Lee” sees her collaborating with legendary cinematographer Ellen Kuras to tell the story of Lee Miller, a former fashion model who became one of America’s most important photographers on the frontlines of World War II. Winslet wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty to embody Miller and the horrors she photographed, but her involvement in the film went far beyond her performance.
In a new interview with Vogue (the same magazine that published many of Miller’s photos), “Lee” producer Kate Solomon explained that Winslet was extremely involved in the business and creative aspects of the film as a producer. In addition to helping the film obtain financing, the profile revealed that Winslet personally paid the crew’s salaries for two weeks during the shoot.
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“Kate held the film in her,” Solomon said. “If you spoke to her about any aspect of it, she knew what her opinion was. And when you have that, you can galvanize everyone behind that person. It looks effortless, but having lived with her, you can say: My God, it is a lot of work to get to that point.”
In a recent interview with IndieWire at the Toronto International Film Festival, Kuras agreed that Winslet was an extremely involved producer who played a key role in the casting process.
“She was very involved in the film from A to Z,” Kuras said of Winslet. “From all the research to us having extensive conversations about who we wanted to cast, talking about who could be in different roles.”
While responses to the overall film have been mixed, critics have praised Winslet’s performance, with many citing her uniquely cinematic screen presence as a high point.
“If there were an award for the most cinematic cigarette-sucking on film, ‘Lee’ would be a shoo-in,” Natalia Winkelman wrote in her IndieWire review of the film. “Over the course of the nearly two-hour biopic, Kate Winslet, who stars as the war photographer Lee Miller, is consistently depicted amid a cloud of smoke, satisfying her oral fixation. Sometimes she puffs urgently, seeking to ease her jittery anxiety. In other scenes, she takes her time, her dramatic drags and pregnant pauses signaling that this lady has seen some things, kept some secrets, and survived it all.”
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