Culture & Entertainment

Sally Hawkins to star in biopic of Maud Lewis

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Sally Hawkins to star in biopic of Maud Lewis

By: Guest Blogger
lewis_house_maud Exciting news for Maritime film fans: one of Nova Scotia’s most beloved and iconic figures, folk artist Maud Lewis, is getting the biopic treatment. Better still, there’s a very good chance the movie won’t be the usual bland Telefilm-funded snoozefest. According to a press release from Canadian distributor Mongrel Media, Maudie will be an Irish-Canadian coproduction and will star the hugely talented British actress Sally Hawkins (a recent Academy Award nominee for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.) Films about real people pretty much live or die by their casting, and I can’t think of a better fit for Maud Lewis than Hawkins. Sure, Hawkins ( Happy-Go-Lucky, Jane Eyre, Vera Drake) is a movie star, but she’s not the usual glamour-puss—her beauty is unconventional, and her big, toothy smile is disarming in the same way Lewis’s was. With a few makeup effects—Lewis was born with almost no chin, and rheumatoid arthritis caused a withering of her small frame—Hawkins will surely be able to do justice to the role, both outwardly and inwardly. For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Lewis was a painter in what is sometimes referred to (kind of condescendingly) as the “naïve” style. She wasn’t a sophisticated artist, but she captured more joy and beauty in her childlike pastoral images than most other painters could ever hope to achieve. Born near Yarmouth, NS, in 1903, she painted Christmas cards as a girl as a way of supplementing her parents’ income. The movie will reportedly focus on her mid-life courtship with the curmudgeonly, reclusive Everett Lewis. An itinerant fish peddler, Everett hired Maud to clean his ridiculously small home (barely bigger than a shed), only to discover she was more interested in painting it than cleaning it. Gradually, the two discovered they made a great pair, and got married. From then on, Everett did all the housework and supported Maud in her painting career, helping her to become one of the country’s most renowned folk artists. The script is by Canada’s Sherry White, and the director will be Ireland’s Aisling Walsh, who worked with Hawkins before on the BBC miniseries Fingersmith. Sadly, the movie won’t be filmed in Digby, NS, where the Lewis's lived. According to the press release, it’ll be filmed in Newfoundland, “where historic locations capture the look of Nova Scotia in the era of the film.” Oh well, at least it’s being filmed in Canada. ( Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)
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Sally Hawkins to star in biopic of Maud Lewis

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