Florence Pugh cut her teeth in the 2017 adaptation of Lady Macbeth, a Victorian thriller set in rural Northumberland, in which she played a young murderess. And for her first Netflix project, the Don’t Worry Darling star is going back to her period-drama roots as the lead in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel The Wonder.
Ahead of the film’s premiere, a quick recap of everything we know so far about the project.
Who is in the cast of The Wonder?
Florence Pugh takes the lead alongside the likes of Tom Burke, Toby Jones, and Ciarán Hinds.
What is the plot of The Wonder in a nutshell?
The film follows a young girl in 19th-century Ireland who claims to have starved herself for months and survived—and a skeptical nurse and journalist who come to visit her, convinced of their own theories about what’s really happening.
When will The Wonder be released?
The Wonder is expected to arrive on Netflix in 2022, though an official release date has yet to be confirmed.
The plot is distinctly eerie.
Set in mid-19th-century Ireland, The Wonder centers around the deeply religious 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who becomes a tourist attraction in her remote village thanks to her claim to have eaten nothing for months, surviving on the purest “manna from heaven” rather than actual food. Enter British nurse Lib Wright (Pugh), who previously served in the Crimea under Florence Nightingale (“Miss N”) and has been tasked with observing Anna and monitoring her health. Joining her in the Irish Midlands: the no-nonsense journalist Will Byrne (Tom Burke), who’s insistent that someone is slipping food to Anna (and that this person is, in fact, liable for child abuse).
The Irish landscape will feature heavily.
In a first for Netflix, production for The Wonder took place largely in and around County Wicklow in Ireland, with a few detours to Dublin as well. Pugh kept fans updated about the shoot via Instagram, sharing a photograph of the verdant landscape in and around the town of Hollywood. “We’ve been traipsing around the Irish hills for the last week,” she wrote alongside another shot of herself in period costume. “It’s truly been a magnificent start to a beautiful and exciting film. What a story to get our teeth stuck into, what a crew to be working alongside and a fantastic director Sebastian Lelio to be leading us! This will be fun.”
It’s based on a true Victorian phenomenon.
Donoghue—best known for her chilling thriller Room—cites the stories of “fasting girls” reported across Europe during the Victorian era as the inspiration for The Wonder. Perhaps the most famous case of a girl claiming to be nourished by her belief in God alone is the Welsh tween Sarah Jacob, whose vicar reported on her years of fasting in the local newspapers—with the case subsequently gaining national attention. Doctors later insisted on monitoring Jacob in the hospital, where she died of starvation, leading to her parents’ conviction for manslaughter.