Sunday 23 November 2014

Steve Coogan praises 'the real Philomena Lee' as he accepts the BAFTA for 'Adapted Screenplay'

Published 16/02/2014 | 20:54

Jeff Pope (L) and Steve Coogan celebrate winning Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Jeff Pope (L) and Steve Coogan celebrate winning Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena at the BAFTA awards ceremony. Photo: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
Philomena Lee was played by Dame Judi Dench in a film about her life
Philomena Lee and actor Steve Coogan smile as they pose following a news conference in Rome.
Dame Judi Dench. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Tipperary woman Philomena Lee
Actress Dame Judi Dench and Philomena Lee attend the ‘Philomena’ American Express Gala screening during the 57th BFI London Film Festival last October. Photo: Getty
Judi Dench for Best Actress in Philomena

'Philomena' - the film about an Irish woman forced to give up her baby for adoption in 1950s Ireland - has won a BAFTA.

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope won the award for adapted screenplay for Philomena - the story of an Irish woman's search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption.

Accepting the award, Coogan praised the "real Philomena Lee".

He said: "Her story has been told and her story finished in the Vatican. She has been heard but there are 60,000 women who are yet to trace their children".

The film - which stars Oscar-winner Judi Dench and Steve Coogan - was widely tipped for a clutch of awards.

Filmed on location in Killyleagh, Co Down, it tells the story of Jane Lee (Anna Maxwell Martin) who discovers her mother Philomena (Judi Dench) fell pregnant as a teenager in 1952 Ireland and was forced to give up the baby to the sisters at Roscrea Abbey.

Jane pitches the story to former Labour advisor turned BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), who initially scoffs at the suggestion he should pen an article about the matriarch and her heartbreaking ordeal.

After a reality check from his wife Kate (Simone Lahbib), Martin agrees to help Philomena track down her boy.

"I'd like to know if he thought of me," Philomena tells Martin. "I've thought of him every day."

The film - made on a small budget when compared to Hollywood blockbusters - has already defied box office expectations, and is now starting to do likewise when it comes to awards.

Irish Independent

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