Belfast Telegraph

Dench's new film a change from M

Dame Judi Dench has said she did not hesitate to take up her latest role as a woman searching for her son.

The actress, 78, plays Philomena Lee, a woman who spent half a century looking for her son after he was sold by nuns in the new Stephen Frears film Philomena.

As an unmarried teenager in Fifties Ireland, Philomena was sent to a convent to have her baby, before being made to "repay" the nuns by working in the laundry.

When he was three years old, her son was taken from the convent without her authority and she spent the next 50 years trying in vain to find him.

Although Lee's story was turned into a book called The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, Dame Judi admits she wasn't aware of the story before receiving the script.

"Steve (Coogan, who produced, co-wrote and stars in the movie as journalist Martin) came to my home and read it to me and I immediately wanted to do it.

"It's very different to the last thing I did," said the Oscar-winning star, referring to her role as spy boss M in the Bond movies.

"It's just the juxtaposition of things you're offered and then this comes along and what a treat."

:: Philomena is in cinemas now.

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