Principle photography in 2023
The Maverick will be directed by Yewweng Ho (Secret Child, Mical) with cinematographer Darius Shu. Based on the true story of Frank Duff, it follows the forgotten Irish hero in 1960s Dublin. The film will be made and produced by Irish author and film producer Gordon Lewis. He spent the first nine years of his life living with his mother in the Regina Coeli hostel.
The story follows Frank Duff and his battle with Archbishop John McQuaid and Sean McEntee from Dublin City Council to keep the Regina Coeli hostel for 100 unmarried mothers and their children open 50 years ago.
Gordon said preproduction for the film has already started on “The Maverick” and will show the “true genius” of Frank Duff and how he overcame opposition to keep the Regina Coeli open after being served with closure notices in the early 1960s by the Dublin health minister. But, Frank Duff fought back and did something outrageous that church and state authorities never expected.
When Ireland was a very conservative country, Frank believed charitable works should extend to all walks of society, including prostitutes and homosexuals, and all religious faiths, which did not sit comfortably with the church and state.
He said Frank Duff was a frequent visitor to the hostel, always on his bicycle, and was friendly to everyone. He would enter the small chapel inside the Regina Coeli hostel and say his prayers. We, as children, knew this was his time and would wait for him outside the chapel.
Lewis said ideally, he wants the film to be shot in Dublin with the Regina Coeli hostel as a backdrop and be faithful to Frank's story who was ahead of his time. But, unfortunately, Lewis has been unable to get a response so far from the Montfort Trust, Legion of Mary, which owns the building. So unless there is a change of heart, he is now having to look at locations in Belfast or London as an alternative but intends to use only Irish actors.
He has also received a disappointing no from the Trust last year for the proposal to erect a small plaque on the Reginal Coeli hostel building at his own cost. It was to remember the thousands of single mothers and children who have found a roof over their heads courtesy of Frank Duff and to honour him. The Dublin authorities were very positive, subject to the approval of Montfort Trust Legion of Mary, which did not happen.
This is how and why the film “The Maverick” happened. Lewis wanted Irish people not to forget this incredible Irish hero who helped so many ordinary people in their difficulties.