Judi Dench said her recent cinematic endeavor Philomena is all about "faith." This is essentially what drew the award-winning actress to the project.
Directed by Stephen Frears and co-written by Steve Coogan, the film tells the true story of a woman (Dench) who is searching for the son that was taken away from her years ago by the Catholic Church. To prepare for her role in the flick, the actress reportedly spent quite a bit of time speaking to Philomena Lee.
"I was fascinated by her and wanted to do it straightaway. Ultimately, I think it's a story about faith. I don't think it gets polemic about the church in any way. It tells that bit of story, but in natural fact, much more so than that, it's about a woman who has an unshakable faith after going through that experience," Judi Dench told The Associated Press.
Steven Coogan told The Movie Blog that he went to Judi Dench's house and told her the story. Since she'd worked with director Stephen Frears before on Mrs. Henderson Presents, the actress felt comfortable with tackling the lead role in the flick.
The Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa star said of working with Judi Dench:
"I went to her house when the script was finished and read the entire script to her out loud because of her eye problems. When the script was printed out for her, it was printed in very big letters. Almost like for a child because her eyesight is so bad. She got through it. I was intimidated because I was going to be acting opposite her but she made me feel very comfortable. I saw her struggling with the part just like any other actor. She's great but she's flesh and blood."
In a recent column she wrote for The Daily Beast, Judi Dench said she felt the need to completely embody the character of Philomena Lee when she signed on for the part. According to the award-winning actress, playing Lee was "great challenge."
"It was fantastic having Philomena to talk to, to be there as a reference when I needed her. It allowed me to get the essence of the part, in a way that was impossible when I played Elizabeth I or Iris Murdoch, both of whom were long gone," the actress explained.
Are you a fan of Judi Dench? Are you planning to catch Philomena in theaters?
[Image via The Weinstein Company]