The picture is directed by Top of the Lake co-director Garth Davis, and production by The King's Speech producers, Australia's See-Saw Films.
Filming begins this week in Kolkata, India before continuing in Australia. Kidman will not film in India, but will join the shoot in Australia from April or May.
Brierley's book recounts his family in India being thrown into poverty by his father leaving his mother in the mid 1980s. At the age of five, he was separated from his family after he and his older brothers began begging at the railway station for food and money.
He wound up on the streets of Calcutta, where he was eventually rescued and adopted by an Australian family. Brierley learned English and grew up as a typical Australian but decided as an adult -- using Google Earth and only a few faint clues -- to try tracking down his mother and was reunited with her in 2011.
Top Indian actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deepti Naval also join the cast.
Transmission Films will distribute Lion in Australia and New Zealand. The Weinstein Company acquired the picture for the rest of the world at the 2014 Cannes festival. The film is being co-financed by Screen Australia and Fulcrum Media Finance.
The picture is produced by See-Saw Films in association with Sunstar Entertainment and Aquarius Films. Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder are producing with Andrew Fraser, Shahen Mekertichian and Daniel Levin executive producing.