Stephen Frears' 'Philomena' Gets Start Date

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The movie, co-starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, is set to shoot at the end of October.

LONDON – Stephen Frears' Philomena starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan is set to roll at the end of October.

The movie is backed by French-owned, U.K. based-Pathe, BBC Films, the public broadcaster's standalone filmmaking arm, and the British Film Institute.

It is based on a screenplay written by Coogan and Jeff Pope from a book entitled The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Billed as a bittersweet comedy, the script tells the tale of Lee who, after pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a "fallen woman."

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When her baby was only a toddler, he was whisked away by the nuns to America for adoption.

Philomena spent the next 50 years searching for him in vain before meeting journalist Sixsmith, who embarked on a quest with her to find her son.

The film is produced by Coogan, Gabrielle Tana and Tracey Seaward, and executive produced by Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films chief Christine Langan and Pathe's Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken.

Natascha Wharton will oversee the film for the BFI's Film Fund.

Coogan said: "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."

It will shoot in London, Northern Ireland and Washington DC.

Pathe will distribute the film in the U.K. and France and will handle sales throughout the rest of the world.