My mother lived her life through movies and books - she read everything there was to read. And she read to me every night. I never went to sleep without her reading to me. And she fantasized about the book and she would talk about it, the place, and you would think that after she read the book and after she told you stories about it, that she had actually been there. I learned about story from her, and I learned the value of a great story, and the value of great characters.
I feel with this film that as long as we tell Philomena's story and as long as we're true to her, which Jeff and Steve have already done by writing the story. . . we must not sell her short;. She's a most remarkable woman and all my concern was that we must be absolutely true to her story.
The second book, which was probably more from a professional standpoint - when I read Junot Díaz's Drown, I was like, Oh my god, you can write these stories and people will actually read them beyond your own little community. This guy's book is blowing up and it seems like [he's writing about] the neighborhood that I grew up in. That was a big deal. I read that in graduate school, so that's when I was really taking writing seriously, but I didn't know you could do it. I didn't know you can actually be an author. It was a weird epiphany.