Steve Coogan to star in Philomena
Tim Clark1 October 2012
Steve Coogan is set to reveal his serious side after signing up to Philomena, a new drama film focussing a true story of a mother’s search for a son she was forced to give up for adoption in Ireland in the 1950s.
Coogan will star alongside Judy Dench in the film which follows the story of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who was forced into putting her three-year-old son Anthony up for adoption by Catholic nuns at Roscrea in Tipperary, Ireland.
Lee, who was unmarried and shunned by her family at the time, handed Anthony to the church, who sold him a wealthy American couple from Missouri for around $2000.
He was renamed Michael and grew up to become a successful Republican lawyer. Lee’s story was only revealed 50 years later when she told her family of her previous son.
Both mother and son had spent years searching for each other but were thwarted in their attempts by the Catholic Church. Suffering from HIV, Michael had even travelled to Ireland to search for his lost mother, who happened to still live only miles from the convent in Roscrea.
Micheal died before he was reunited with his mother, though he was buried in the cemetery of the church.
Lee’s fruitless search for her son was picked up by BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, who penned a book on her struggle.
Coogan helped write the screenplay for the new movie, which is directed by Stephen Frears. The film is to be produced by Coogan’s production company Baby Cow, Pathe and BBC Films.