The Skyfall actor will lead the cast opposite Cheng Pei Pei in the directorial debut of writer Hong Khaou.
Peter Bowles, Morven Christie and Andrew Leung will also appear in the drama.
Lilting follows the story of a Chinese mother (Pei Pei) who is mourning the sudden death of her son (Leung). However, stranded without him and not able to speak English, she requires the help of his boyfriend (Whishaw), whom she only knows as his flatmate.
The movie has been given the backing of FilmLondon's low-budget project Microwave, which has previously helped create iLL Manors by Ben Drew.
Microwave will fund the project along with BBC Films, alongside additional backing from Stink Films and SUMS Film and Media Ltd.
Khaou - who was born in Cambodia and grew up in Vietnam - said: "This film is very close to my heart. The support I've had through the mentors has been intelligent, insightful and imaginative. There was a genuine, considered care towards helping me anchor my voice and ideas."
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: "It is fantastic to have yet another film going into production on the Microwave slate and the high calibre cast."
Ben Whishaw recently spoke to Digital Spy about the second series of BBC drama The Hour.
Watch the trailer for Skyfall below: