'The Aftermath' director wants to make biopic about Vogue's WWII correspondent (exclusive)

Hanna Flint
Contributor

James Kent loves nothing more than telling the stories of the past, just one look at his IMDb page is proof of that.

Testament of Youth, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and his latest film, The Aftermath, are a selection of period dramas to his name but he’s already looking to his next subject.

That subject is a former fashion model-turned-photographer who became Vogue’s war correspondent during the Second World War.

“I love war photography and so the photographer Lee Miller, who was a World War photographer and she was at the forefront of being a war correspondent,” the director said. “She had the most amazing life, great passions, and so that would be an amazing biopic to tell.”

Lee Miller in steel helmet specially designed for using a camera, Normandy, France 1944 by unknown photographer Photographer Unknown © The Penrose Collection, England 2015. All rights reserved.

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It was announced in 2017 that Kate Winslet would play Miller in a movie and produce alongside Troy Lum and Andrew Mason of Hopscotch Features. According to the Hollywood Reporter eOne have bought distribution rights of the film that “will document Miller’s life, as told by her son, Antony Penrose, in the only authorized biography, The Lives of Lee Miller.”

At the time no director had been announced so there certainly still could be time for Kent to be snapped up for the job. The filmmaker has made biopics before, as both features and documentaries, but one of his most famous is Fashion Victim: The Killing of Gianni Versace.

The 2001 docu-drama was critically-acclaimed upon its release and praised for its level of detail that the writer of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace used it for inspiration.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace writer used Kent’s documentary on the subject for inspiration (FX)

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According to Kent, writer Tom Rob Smith used the Storyville documentary as a basis to build the drama series starring Darren Criss as serial killer, and Versace’s murderer, Andrew Cunanan.

“I know the writer because I’ve just been doing this Richard Gere series, which is going out soon,” the director tells Yahoo Movies UK. “I talked to Tom quite a bit and he watched my documentary and used that, a lot of it, as the basis for the story.

“So its remarkable how much the TV drama and my documentary parallelled each other,” Kent added. “I was pleasantly surprised that the drama was pretty accurate.”

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His latest feature, The Aftermath, is based on the novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook which in turn was inspired by the author’s grandfathers experience in post-war Hamburg.

British forces were sent in to rebuild the city and during their stay requisitioned German houses for the commanders to live in. This story centres on a fictional affair between a Colonel and his wife, played by Jason Clarke and Keira Knightley, and Alexander Skarsgard’s German widower who owns the house the bereaved couple move into.

“I used to read historical novels and romances when I was a child all the time so I’ve always had this love of the past,” Kent says of why he chose this story to tell.

“It has in its DNA human drama and compassion and emotion and forgiveness.”

The Aftermath is in cinemas now