First look: Florence Pugh stars in Netflix’s The Wonder
James R | On 13, Aug 2021
Florence Pugh is heading to Netflix for The Wonder, and a new image give us a first look at the star-studded UK production.
The adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2017 novel is set in the Irish Midlands, 1862. When a young girl stops eating but remains miraculously alive and well, English nurse Lib Wright is brought to a tiny village to observe eleven-year old Anna O’Donnell. Tourists and pilgrims mass to witness the girl who is said to have survived without food for months. Is the village harbouring a saint “surviving on manna from heaven” or are there more ominous motives at work?
A psychological thriller inspired by the 19th-century phenomenon of the “fasting girls”, The Wonder is the first production commissioned out of the UK by Fiona Lamptey, Netflix’s Director of UK Features. The new Netflix UK film slate aims to create ambitious, distinctive event films to give a global platform to both established and emerging UK talent.
The film is helmed by acclaimed Chilean director Sebastián Lelio whose 2017 feature A Fantastic Woman won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and whose follow-ups include Disobedience (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) and Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore).
The screenplay is co-written by Donoghue and Lelio with Alice Birch. The DoP is Ari Wegner (Lady Macbeth, In Fabric, True History of The Kelly Gang). The film is produced by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions and Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures. Donoghue exec-produces, alongside Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen.
Pugh will play Wright, with the cast also including Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy and Kíla Lord Cassidy.
Tom Burke (Will Byrne) recently starred as Orson Welles in David Fincher’s Mank and will next be seen alongside Ruth Wilson in Harry Wootliff’s True Things About Me. Niamh Algar (Kitty O’Donnell) joins the cast following her BAFTA nominated and IFTA winning role in Calm With Horses and current starring role in Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor. IFTA award winning Elaine Cassidy (Rosaleen O’Donnell) joins the cast with daughter Kíla Lord Cassidy (Anna O’Donnell), following Kila’s recent feature debut in The Doorman.
Supporting cast includes Toby Jones (First Cow), Dermot Crowley (The Death of Stalin), Brían F. O’Byrne (Little Boy Blue), Ciaran Hinds (The Terror).
Lelio says: “Bringing the powerful novel The Wonder by Emma Donoghue to the screen not only offers me the chance to portray the collision between reason and faith, individual and community, obedience and rebellion, but also to explore my own interpretation of what a ‘period’ film can be. I couldn’t be more thrilled that the magnetic and courageous Florence Pugh will play our fierce female lead. I am also excited to be reunited with Ed Guiney and Element, to have the privilege to work with Tessa Ross and House, and honored that Netflix have chosen The Wonder as their first UK Features endeavour.”
Production is now underway in Ireland. The film will premiere on Netflix in 2022.