Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) is directing the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s (Room) novel, with joining cast including Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Dermot Crowley, Brían F. O’Byrne and David Wilmot.
Set in The Irish Midlands in 1862, the story 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 project is the first commission from Fiona Lamptey in the UK for the streamer’s UK film slate. It is due for release in 2022.
Room scribe Donoghue is co-adapting her story inspired by the famous historical phenomenon of the “fasting girls”. Screenplay is by Donoghue, Lelio and Alice Birch.
Producers are Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions, Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures. Exec producers are Emma Donoghue, Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen. Cinematographer is Ari Wegner (Lady Macbeth).
Director 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 UK Features endeavour.”
Pugh is currently starring in Black Widow from Marvel Studios and has recently finished filming Olivia Wilde’s sophomore feature Don’t Worry Darling.