Film history is full of great duos: Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Thelma and Louise… Now, another odd couple is about to join that cinematic roster: supermodel Kate Moss and painter Lucian Freud, whose friendship is the subject of the upcoming film
Conceived of by the supermodel and produced with the Lucian Freud archive, the movie is set to be directed by James Lucas, who won an Oscar for live action short for his film in 2013. British actress Ellie Bamber, best known for her roles in and stars as Moss, with Derek Jacobi of slated to play Freud, according to .
Moss was at the height of her fame in the early aughts, when the events of take place. She was the face of the “heroin chic” era of modeling, starring in ad campaigns for brands including Dior, Calvin Klein, Rimmel London, and David Yurman. In 2002, she was also newly pregnant by her then-boyfriend Jefferson Hack, co-founder of .
Meanwhile, Lucian Freud, the grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was a well-established art star who had come up as part of the so-called “School of London” group that also included Francis Bacon and David Hockney. He was known for his unsparring eye, and rarely painted celebrities—but he did invite Moss to sit for him, reportedly after reading an interview she gave in i-D magazine where she said one of her goals in life was to pose for the painter.
In seven-hour stints over the course of nine months, Moss reported to Freud’s Holland Park Studio to pose, learning “discipline” from the artist who chastised her for being even five minutes late. In the course of their meetings, the two developed a close relationship, despite living at diametrically opposed ends of the social spectrum.
The painting that resulted from the sittings was auctioned at Christie’s in 2005, fetching £3,928,000, a record for the artist at the time. The catalogue described the work as “a union of opposites,” applying the “slow scrutiny and technique of the old masters to the iconic figure from the fleeting and superficial world of contemporary fashion, magazine covers, and commercial advertising.”
Moss herself was left with a permanent reminder of her time with Freud, as the artist hand-tattooed a pair of swallows on the model, a relic from his days in the Navy inking fellow sailors. “I mean, it’s an original Freud,” Moss once said of the tattoo in an interview, “I wonder how much a collector would pay for that? A few million?”
Their relationship was also documented by David Dawson, Freud’s longtime studio assistant, whose intimate shot of the two snuggled in bed together a year before Freud’s death was shown at an exhibition of Dawson’s photographs at Pallant House in 2012.
“As this is such a personal story of mine it has been essential that I be involved with James [Lucas] in all aspects as the project has developed,” Moss said in a statement. “I am thrilled by the recent casting and excited that the film will begin shooting soon, I cannot wait to see it.”