Stephen Frears is one of the most eclectic director’s around, having taken on everything from Dangerous Liaisons and the Queen, to the likes of High Fidelity, Tamara Drewe and Accidental Hero. However he first made his name in the movie world with the 1985 gay-themed hit, My Beautiful Launderette. Now he’s lined up a new movie which also has LGBT-interest, Philomena, and Variety reports that Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan have signed up to star.
The movie is based on the Martin Sixsmith true story book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son and a 50 Year Search. The plot follows Lee, who teams up with Sixsmith to try and find the illegitimate son that she was forced to give up while living in a Catholic home for unmarried mothers in Ireland. Meanshile, it turned out that her son had grown up as Michael Hess, and become a Republican politician and closeted homosexual who had been diagnosed with AIDS. With the knowledge that he was dying, he traveled to Ireland to try and get the nuns at the Catholic home to reveal his mother’s identity.
Coogan has been involved with the project for a long time and even co-wrote the film with Jeff Pope. He will play the Sixsmith, while Dench will be Lee. Coogan commented, “The film is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy. It’s about two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places.”
Shooting starts next month in London, Northern Ireland and Washington, D.C.