Steve Coogan gets serious

New film about adoption scandal

Steve Coogan is to star in a movie based on the true story of an Irish woman forced to put her illegitimate son up for adoption in the Fifties.

The Alan Partridge star also co-wrote the screenplay of Philomena, which is based on a book by former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Coogan will play Sixsmith in the adaptation, which will also star Dame Judi Dench as Philomena Lee. It is being directed by Stephen Frears, whose credits include The Queen.

Lee was made to give up her illegitimate son by the nuns who ran a Catholic home for unmarried mothers in Tipperary.

But 50 years later, living in England and happily married with a new family, she met Sixsmith to track down the long-lost son, who had been adopted in America.

He turned out to be a Republican politician called Michael Hess – who was also a closeted homosexual who had contracted Aids. Knowing he was dying, he had travelled to Ireland to try to track down his mother several years earlier, but the nuns refused to give him the information he needed.

The film – which was co-written by Jeff Pope – will be filmed in November, Hollywood trade paper Variety reports. It is a co-production between Coogan's company Baby Cow, Pathe and BBC Films.

Click here to read Sixsmith tell the story in the Daily Mail.

Published: 28 Sep 2012

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