30 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
First-look at Florence Pugh as production begins in Ireland on Netflix thriller The Wonder
16 Aug 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Florence Pugh The Wonder
The full cast and first-look image of Florence Pugh have been revealed for the adaptation of Irish writer Emma Donoghue’s acclaimed novel, produced by House Productions and Element Pictures.

A strong Irish acting contingent including Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Ciarán Hinds (The Terror), Dermot Crowley (The Death of Stalin), Brían F. O'Byrne (Little Boy Blue), and David Wilmot (Ordinary Love) join Florence Pugh (Little Women) in the adaptation alongside Tom Burke (Mank) and Toby Jones (First Cow).

Florence Pugh (Lib Wright) is currently starring in Black Widow from Marvel Studios and has recently finished filming Olivia Wilde’s sophomore feature Don’t Worry Darling. 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. 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. 

Set in The Irish Midlands, 1862, The Wonder follows a young girl who 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? The film is a psychological thriller inspired by the 19th century phenomenon of the "fasting girls" and adapted from the acclaimed novel by Emma Donoghue (Room).

The Wonder 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, Disobedience (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) and Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore), launched to widespread acclaim.

The project marks Emma Donoghue reunion with Irish production company Element Pictures following their Academy Award© nominated adaptation of the writer’s 2010 novel Room. The screen adaption is co-written by Emma Donoghue, Sebastián Lelio, and writer Alice Birch, and based on her 2016 novel The Wonder, which is inspired by the famous historical phenomenon of the “fasting girls”.

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,” said director Sebastian Lelio.  “I couldn’t be more thrilled that the magnetic and courageous Florence Pugh will play our fierce female lead.”

Produced by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures and Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions, The Wonder is the first production commissioned from Netflix’s new UK & Ireland Features Slate by Netflix’s Director of UK Features Fiona Lamptey.

“The Wonder has everything we're looking for at Netflix for our UK & Ireland Film slate - a rich, authentic story that comes from these shores along with creative excellence across source material, script, director and actors,” said Lamptey. “I'm incredibly excited to work with such outstanding talent on a unique female lead story. Creating opportunities for UK & 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.”

Director Sebastián Lelio added: “I am also excited to be reunited with Ed Guiney and Element, to have the privilege to work with Tessa Ross and House, and honoured that Netflix have chosen The Wonder as their first UK Features endeavour.”

Emma Donoghue, Len Blavatnik, and Danny Cohen, feature as exec producers on the project, while cinematography is being handles by Ari Wegner (Lady Macbeth, In Fabric, True History of The Kelly Gang. The Wonder has been developed with the support of Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland and Access Entertainment

The Wonder is shooting on location in Ireland and will release on Netflix in 2022.

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