An adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Emma Donoghue, the film is set in the Irish Midlands in 1862. A psychological thriller inspired by the 19th century-phenomenon of the “fasting girls,” it follows 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who stops eating but remains miraculously alive and well, and an English nurse Lib Wright (Pugh), who is brought to her tiny village to observe. Tourists and pilgrims amass to witness the girl who is said to have survived without food for months.
The cast also includes Tom Burke (“Mank”), Niamh Algar (“Censor”), Elaine Cassidy (“Disco Pigs”), Kíla Lord Cassidy (“The Doorman”), Toby Jones (“First Cow”), Dermot Crowley (“The Death of Stalin”), Brían F. O’Byrne (“Little Boy Blue”) and Ciaran Hinds (“The Terror”). The screenplay is by Donoghue, Lelio and Alice Birch (“Normal People”).
Pugh is currently starring in Marvel’s “Black Widow” and has recently finished filming Olivia Wilde’s sophomore feature “Don’t Worry Darling.”
The film is the first production commissioned out of the U.K. by Fiona Lamptey, director of U.K. features for Netflix, as part of a film slate set up to create ambitious, distinctive event films to give a global platform to established and emerging U.K. talent.
Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell are producing for House Productions (“Brexit”,” “Trigonometry”) alongside Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures (“The Favourite,” “Normal People”). Donoghue, Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen are serving as executive producers.
“The Wonder” has been developed with the support of Screen Ireland and Access Entertainment.
Lelio said: “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 U.K. Features endeavor.”
“’The Wonder’ has everything we’re looking for at Netflix for our U.K. and Ireland Film slate — a rich, authentic story that comes from these shores along with creative excellence across source material, script, director and actors,” Lamptey added. “I’m incredibly excited to work with such outstanding talent on a unique female lead story. Creating opportunities for U.K. and Irish talent like Florence in ambitious, distinctive stories of scale — embedded in our landscape — is a key commitment for the film slate we are building here.”
“The Wonder” will release on Netflix in 2022.