Philomena 2

Stephen Frears has signed on to direct the Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope-penned "Philomena," a mother-son drama starring Coogan and Judi Dench. The script is an adaptation of Martin Sixsmith's "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee," and follows the true story of Sixsmith's wife's search for the son she gave up for adoption.

Dench will star as Lee, with Coogan playing her grown-up son, Michael, a closeted gay lawyer and Republican politician in 1980s Washington D.C. Michael has similarly been looking for his birth mother, but with tragic information to relay: He's contracted AIDS.

Despite the bleak subject matter, Frears describes the film as a "comic tragedy or a tragic comedy." With Coogan on board, that sounds about right. Perhaps Michael will show his mum a spot-on Michael Caine impression?

The film begins shooting next month in the U.K. and D.C.