Jessica Lange and Halle Berry have been tapped to co-star in “Losing Isaiah,” an emotional drama based on the Seth Margolis novel set to be produced through Howard Koch Jr.’s indie banner at Paramount Pictures.

Lange will play a social worker who adopts an African-American baby, only to have the birth mother, played by Berry, return two years later and try to regain custody of the child.

Koch has described the pic, to be directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, as “a ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’-type about a child caught between his estranged natural mother and the family that has raised him.”

Scripter Naomi Foner said theemotional story, while asking the fundamental question “What’s a mother?” also “correlates where race relations are in 1994. And it asks questions that we don’t often ask.”

The project, which starts principal photography March 28 in Chicago, is Koch’s first film to be developed under the indie banner he established in September 1992. At the time, Koch, a veteran production exec, inked an exclusive pact with the studio after a two-year first-look deal.

While Koch has taken producer or exec producer credits on different films in the past 18 months, he says he will take a producer credit on films he develops himself. “Losing Isaiah” is set for a fall release, Koch said.

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