Kate Moss helps to cast Ellie Bamber to play her in biopic | Kate Moss

Kate Moss – one of the most recognisable faces in the world – has helped to cast the British actor Ellie Bamber to play her in upcoming biopic, Moss & Freud.

The film, directed by James Lucas, tells the story of the supermodel sitting for painter Lucian Freud in 2002. Moss has been closely involved with the project and the casting was part of this work.

“As this is such a personal story of mine, it has been essential that I be involved with James in all aspects as the project has developed,” she said. “I am thrilled by the recent casting and excited that the film will begin shooting soon. I cannot wait to see it.”

Moss is executive producer on the film, and it has the support of the Lucian Freud Archive.

The film is set to be an intimate study of two household names. The model sat naked for Freud during the time that she was pregnant with her daughter, Lila, with sessions taking place between 7pm and 2am three nights a week. The resulting painting of a naked supermodel by one of the world’s most bankable artists was understandably a high-value object. It was sold at Christies in 2005 for £3.5m. While there were rumours Moss herself would buy it, it went to an unknown buyer who bought it over the phone.

Lucian Freud’s painting of Kate Moss
Lucian Freud’s painting of Kate Moss being auctioned at Christies, London. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

In fact, while Moss clearly considers the experience of being painted by Freud to be one of the highlights of her life so far, this was a case of the process outweighing the final result. Speaking at a press conference announcing the film last year, she said: “He didn’t really like the picture, and I didn’t really,” she continued. “I mean, I had a great time. [But] it’s not, like, my favourite Lucian painting.”

Freud rarely painted celebrities. An essay in the Christies catalogue said he declined to paint Diana, Princess of Wales, because he couldn’t get beyond the “sheen of glamour”.

He first approached Moss for a portrait after he read in Dazed & Confused magazine that one of her ambitions was to be painted by him.

Moss has said that the experience taught her discipline because the artist expected punctuality. “If I was five minutes late, he would kick off,” she told ShowStudio in 2014. “But only once I was five minutes late, and he said, ‘Are you on drugs?!’ And I said, ‘No, I’m pregnant!’”

As well as achieving a life goal, Moss came away from her time with Freud with an original Freud. During the sessions, the artist tattooed two birds on to her lower back. Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2012, she joked: “I wonder how much a collector would pay for that? A few million? If it all goes horribly wrong I could get a skin graft and sell it! It’s probably the only one on skin that’s still around.”

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Bamber is a hotly tipped actor. She appeared in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals in 2016, and she will feature in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film, out this summer.

She has starred in several TV hits, including the BBC’s series The Serpent and recent fantasy series Willow on Disney+.

In Moss & Freud, she will star alongside Derek Jacobi, who plays the artist. The film is the first feature from Lucas, who previously won an Oscar for his short, The Phone Call, in 2013.

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