Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Steve Coogan of 'Philomena' on the little film that could
NUNN ON ONE: MOVIES Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 2858 times since Sun Nov 24, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

English actor Steve Coogan has starred in a variety of films over the years, including Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum and Around the World in 80 Days.

He moved on to more dramatic roles with What Maisie Knew and The Look of Love. He continues that trend with the film Philomena, teaming with Judi Dench.

Stephen Frears directs the true story about journalist Martin Sixsmith, who helps Irish birth mother Philomena Lee find the child she had lost to adoption 50 years ago.

The story takes many twists and turns leading to the discovery of her son Anthony all the while marveling at Lee's dignity and charm. At early festival screenings this flick took home the Venice Queer Lion Prize and the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

Windy City Times sat down with Coogan at his hotel recently to discuss the little movie that has some big things to say.

Windy City Times: Hello, Steve. I think it's interesting that you started with a puppet show and a stand-up comedy routine.

Steve Coogan: That is how I got started in the industry. I wound up doing stand up because that was the only work I could get.

WCT: You co-wrote, starred and produced Philomena. What drew you to the story?

Steve Coogan: I was reading an article four years ago by Martin Sixsmith who I play in the film. He wrote this article about this Irish woman, who had a son that was adopted and I found the story very moving. I was looking for a project outside of the stuff that I normally do. In England I have this comedy career in the US I play part number three or four in studio films.

I was looking for something more substantial that had some real content. I found this. I had a production company and I had made comedy TV series with other people so I just optioned Martin's book.

I wanted to tell a slightly different story from what he had in his book. I wanted to put him, the author, into the story. That was not the way he had written the book. I wanted to tell a story about a journalist and Philomena going on this journey together to look for her son. Then it was just a case of sitting down and writing it.

WCT: You have a history with Catholic school in the past?

Steve Coogan: My background is Irish and I went to Catholic school, yes.

WCT: So there were personal things in the story for you.

Steve Coogan: I had a connection with it because my mother is the same age as Philomena so I felt like I was equipped to deal with the subject matter. I could talk about it with some familiarity.

WCT: I felt a connection, being adopted, gay and a Nunn!

Steve Coogan: Oh, wow.

WCT: Was it difficult to get the movie made?

Steve Coogan: It was like all of these things. I had a good coproducer, who did the film called The Duchess. I told her the story I had read in the paper and she was willing to help me. She was good because she held my hand and took me through the process of getting this film made.

We went to the BBC. They gave us some money to write it. To have them on board is good because the BBC can legitimize it. You have to go through some leg work but people just loved the script. It makes people laugh and cry. In some ways it is easier to make this film in Europe than it would be in the U.S.

WCT: Was it hard to get Judi Dench on board?

Steve Coogan: That wasn't so hard. We went to her agent and told her the story. It was a screenplay with a good part for an older actress. There aren't many of those around. This was all about Philomena. It is outside what she normally does so that always appeals to any actor who is good. It was a stretch for her and checks all the boxes for her.

I think also when Stephen Frears came along as director that made it even better for her than before so she was comfortable.

WCT: Any diva moments with her throughout the filming?

Steve Coogan: We just laughed a lot. I spent a long time sitting in that car with her. We just laughed and giggled. We had long chats about stuff. It was wonderful. I was blessed in the whole making of this film because it was a delight. I looked forward to going to work every day.

WCT: Is it hard to talk about the movie and not give too much away?

Steve Coogan: There is a big revelation halfway through so it is difficult to talk about. What I think is important for people to know is that it's an important film but it is very enjoyable to watch. It is a really good human story. It has humanity and is about real people.

WCT: Politically, it seems good for the LGBT community to come out and see a film like this—that will move them.

Steve Coogan: This film scored very highly in Kansas when we tested it. We hope that Middle America will see this film. It is not anti-religious. It actually dignifies people like Philomena, who lead good, honest lives. It is also very nonjudgmental. It is about people who have faith and forgiveness. It is about compassion.

Religion gets hijacked by the right-wing people. This shows it in a very negative light but also in a very positive light with Philomena and her grace and dignity. It touches on issues in Anthony's life that he was a closeted homosexual in the republican administration. He kept it hidden because of intolerance. That is his tragedy and also the whole AIDS epidemic that blew up in the late '80s. He was in the center of that. We glimpse at it but it was an important fact to acknowledge.

I wanted to acknowledge that AIDS funding was withdrawn because of the fact that it was a political football. People were the victims of that political decision. There is a nod to that within the movie and I think that I important. I wasn't going to gloss over that. It was important to make that point.

WCT: I hope the movie does very well during awards season.

Steve Coogan: So do I!

WCT: Was the cartoon Despicable Me 2 easy work?

Steve Coogan: Yes, there was studio with two microphones in it and I put on a funny voice. There is much worse work in the world! It is easy work and the most fun.

WCT: I heard about a television show starring you called Doubt.

Steve Coogan: That is a pilot that I made in Chicago six months ago. It was great fun but it didn't get picked up. Maybe they didn't know I was going to come out with this movie that is going to get all of this heat.

I enjoyed doing it and I think it was good work. I think ABC thought it was too edgy. Maybe they would have liked something a little more polished. It is nice to be back in Chicago.

It is probably a blessing in disguise because if it had been picked up I wouldn't be around to promote Philomena, a film that is so important to me.

Philomena opens in Chicago theaters Nov. 27.

This article shared 2858 times since Sun Nov 24, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Actor Ezra Miller supposedly housing people at firearm-filled farm 2022-06-24
- Non-binary actor Ezra Miller is allegedly housing a young mother and her three small children at a Vermont farm, which is allegedly littered with firearms, ammunition and marijuana, according to a Page Six item that cited ...

Gay News

'Hacks,' 'Euphoria' lead LGBTQ+ critics' Dorian TV nominations 2022-06-23
-- From a press release - JUNE 22, 2022 - The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics—now composed of 385 professional critics and journalists covering film and television—announced its 14th Dorian TV Awards nominations for the best in all of TV, mainstream to ...

Gay News

TELEVISION 'A League of Their Own' screening July 2 in Rockford 2022-06-23
-- From a press release - ROCKFORD, Illinois — June 22, 2022 — Prime Video and the City of Rockford will team up to host a free advance screening of the upcoming Prime Video original series A League of Their Own. The ...

Gay News

Chicago Philharmonic launches 2022-23 season 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - (June 20, 2022) Chicago Philharmonic has announced its 2022-23 symphonic season on the heels of a 2021-22 season that ended with the sold-out Chicago Premiere of Marvel Studios' Black Panther in Concert. The ...

Gay News

DANCE Chicago's Joffrey Ballet releasing Pride video filmed in NYC 2022-06-20
- The Joffrey Ballet and Action Lines—a video-production company founded by Joffrey artists Xavier Nunez and Dylan Gutierrez as well as writer/producer Eric Grant—have unveiled a video filmed at the FDR Four Freedoms State Park (on New ...

Gay News

Gloria Allen screening/gathering to take place June 23 2022-06-20
- A film screening/community gathering to honor the late trans icon Gloria Allen (also known as Mama Gloria) will take place Thursday, June 23, 6-8 p.m., at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-06-20
- "u don't know my alphabet."—Sexy Lukas Gage (from The White Lotus; Love, Victor; and the rebooted Queer as Folk) tweets his response to criticism that Hollywood shouldn't hire him to play LGBTQIA+ roles. When asked to ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Lightyear,' celebrity event, LGBT runner, Mariah Carey 2022-06-19
Video below - Pixar's latest film Lightyear is hitting theaters, and it has a special moment for gay fans—a same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her female partner—that almost didn't happen, Out Magazine note ...

Gay News

Spacey charged with sexual assault; UK hearing set for June 16 2022-06-13
- British authorities have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault and a further offense, Deadline reported. The actor has also been charged with causing a person to "engage in penetrative sexual activity without ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jodie Comer, 'Queer As Folk,' trans film, Tom of Finland photos 2022-06-12
- Jodie Comer—the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning actress perhaps best known for playing LGBTQ+ assassin Villanelle on BBC America's Killing Eve—will make her Broadway debut next spring in Prima Facie, a new play by Suzie Miller, Deadline noted. ...

Gay News

Rebel Wilson comes out as LGBTQ+ [UPDATE] 2022-06-09
- It's fitting that, during Pride Month, actress Rebel Wilson has seemingly come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. On June 9, Wilson shared an Instagram post beside her new love, with the caption: "I ...

Gay News

WTTW celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month with special content 2022-06-08
- WTTW recently released its schedule of special programming in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. Highlights include: True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs (NEW) Wed., June 8 at 9:30 pm Offering a unique look at the ...

Gay News

2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards & Movie & TV Awards unveiled 2022-06-06
-- From a press release - New York, New York: (June 5, 2022) - The 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by Vanessa Hudgens, honored the biggest and brightest stars in movies and television with an epic, one-night only global event ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-06-06
- "My mother says that she will not sleep with anybody over the age of 25."—Rocco Ritchie talking about Madonna. This tidbit came courtesy of Dame Joan Collins—who prefaced the quote by saying "We were with her ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Variety list, Billy Porter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janelle Monae 2022-06-05
- In honor of Pride Month, Variety published "55 Queer Artists and Decision-Makers to Know in 2022." A few of those on the list include Bridgerton actor Jonathan Bailey; actor Sara Ramirez (And Just Like That…; Grey's ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.