Maud Lewis movie to be shot in Newfoundland this summer

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
Published on May 21, 2014

The Maud Lewis memorial in Marshalltown

Karla Kelly

Maud Lewis, Digby’s folk artist Maud Lewis, is headed for the big screen—the really big screen.

Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins will play Maud in Maudie, and Sean Bean of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones fame will play her husband Everett.

Hawkins rose to fame with her role of Poppy in the 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky, she is nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance in the 2013 film Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin, and she is in theatres right now in Godzilla.

Sean Bean has starred in a James Bond film as Alec Trevelyan in Golden Eye (1995), he was Spence in Ronin, Boromir in the Lord of the Ring series, Odysseus in Troy alongside Brad Pitt, and he was Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.

Film distributor Mongrel International has acquired the rights to Maudie and a post on their website says shooting will start in Newfoundland in July.

It says “historic locations” there will capture the look of Nova Scotia in the 50s and 60s.

Canadian Sherry White wrote the script and Ireland's Aisling Walsh, who has worked with Hawkins before on a BBC mini-series called Fingersmith (2005), will direct.

The Mongrel International post quotes Hawkins about the role as Nova Scotia’s best-known folk artist.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to play such an extraordinary and inspiring artist,” says Hawkins. “It is a beautiful script. I have been desperate to work with Aisling Walsh again since Fingersmith. She is quite brilliant and perfect to bring Maudie's story to life. It makes it a very special project for me. Maudie's story is a remarkable one and to be asked to step into her shoes is such a gift.”

That post describes the Maudie as an “unlikely romance, in which curmudgeonly recluse Everett Lewis hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie to be his housekeeper.”

“Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family – and she also yearns, passionately, to create art.

“To Everett's surprise, Maudie turns out to be terrible with housework; instead of cleaning, she slowly starts to cover the walls of Everett's tiny house with colourful paintings. Despite, and yet perhaps because of all this, Everett finds himself falling in love.”

“Based on a true story, Maudie is set in the glorious small-town Nova Scotian landscape of the 1950s and early '60s. The film delicately charts Everett's efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie's deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her extraordinary rise to unexpected fame as a folk artist.”

[The "true-story" according to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has restored and displays Maud and Everett's tiny Marshalltown home in Halifax.]

Maudie is produced by Montreal-born Bob Cooper of Los Angeles-based Landscape, Mary Young Leckie of Toronto-based Solo Productions and Susan Mullen from Dublin-based Parallel.