Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman will star in Lion, a drama based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born Australian who found his birth mother 25 years after they were separated.

Patel will play the lead with Kidman as his adopted mother in the film to be directed by Garth Davis, who co-directed Top Of the Lake with Jane Campion.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the casting news. Negotiations are underway with an Australian actor to play Brierley’s adopted father. Another key role is Saroo's Aussie girlfriend.

Luke Davies, the screenwriter on Anton Corbijn's upcoming Life produced by See-Saw Films, has adapted Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home.

The producers are See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning and Aquarius Films’ Angie Fielder. The executive producers are Sunstar Entertainment's Andrew Fraser and Shahen Mekertichian. Shooting starts in India in January.

The Weinstein Co. paid $US12 million for worldwide rights excluding Australasia, where Transmission Films will distribute.

Brierley was five when he fell asleep on a train bound for Calcutta. Scared and alone, he was forced to live on the streets. He was adopted by an Australian couple and brought up in Tasmania wondering if he would ever see his Indian family again. Helped by his adopted parents and using Google Earth, he tracked down his mother and her family.

Patel, who broke through in Slumdog Millionaire, is on a hot streak with roles in John Madden's upcoming The Second Best Marigold Hotel; Daniel Espinosa's Soviet-era thriller Child 44 with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace; The Road Within, Gren Wells' remake of German hit Vincent Wants to Sea; and Neill Blomkamp's robot action-thriller Chappie with Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Sharlto Copley. 

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