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Kate Moss in bed with Lucian Freud
Kate Moss and Lucian Freud in Bed, 2010© David Dawson, courtesy of Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert

A Kate Moss biopic will trace her unlikely ‘love story’ with Lucian Freud

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker James Lucas, Moss & Freud will recount the kinship that blossomed between the supermodel and ageing painter, with Ellie Bamber playing the lead

In an interview with Dazed at the turn of the millenium, Kate Moss revealed that one of her last unfulfilled ambitions was to pose for Lucian Freud. But the artist, famed for his depictions of the naked body as a pile of melting flesh and mottled complexions, had long been reluctant to paint famous people. In his eyes, they had become “hardened”, as if they had “grown another skin because they’ve been looked at so much.” When asked to depict Princess Diana, for example, Freud declined, noting that he couldnt get past that “sheen of glamour”, which was at odds with his intimate approach to realism.

Yet despite all this, having read that interview, an 80-year-old Freud took on the challenge of painting a then-pregnant Moss. From that initial encounter, the duo forged close horizons, their friendship intimate enough for him to not only portray her nude, but to tattoo her body, using the skills he learned in the navy to adorn her lower back with two tiny birds. The kinship that blossomed between one of the most-eyeballed women in the world and Britain’s master painter is the subject of Oscar-winning director James Lucas’ new feature film, Moss & Freud, which will be executive produced by the model (who will be played by Ellie Bamber) with the support of the Lucian Freud Archive.

The portrait, which sold for close to $5 million, took nine months to complete with the model sitting in Freud’s home from 7pm to 2am seven nights a week. “Sitting for Lucian was an honour and incredible experience,” Moss said in a release statement. “After watching The Phone Call I knew that James would convey the emotion in the storytelling in a fitting way, one this memoir deserves. Having been involved in the project and script development from the beginning I am now very excited to see the film come to life.” Having written the screenplay in Freud’s studio, with the “scent of his oil paint still lingering in the air”, Lucas said, “in many ways, I believe all paths led me to make this film. Its topography, emotional and psychological drama, bohemianism, beauty, characters and artistic process all align with my life and the way I have lived it.” 

“I’m grateful to Kate Moss and the Freud Estate for entrusting me with this precious and unconventional love story,” he continued. “It allows our diverse audience to take a look behind the curtain and see, truthfully, what makes these cultural titans tick. Not only will they find incongruity but, perhaps surprisingly, a type of commonality that is threaded through all of us.” As it stands, details surrounding the film’s release date and casting remain scant, but for a closer look into Freud’s interior life, you can read our interview with Sue Tilley, another of the artist’s muses, here.