The new Netflix film, which is set in Victorian-era Ireland, is inspired by the real-life experiences of “fasting girls.”
Florence Pugh will soon be seen in period dramas again.
After spending time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing the role of Yelena Belova in the films Black Widow and Hawkeye, the British actress, who is now 26 years old, is going back in time to the 19th century.
The Wonder, a story about a religious girl who supposedly stops eating but remains alive and healthy, has cast Pugh in the lead role. Veteran nurse Lib Wright (Pugh) has been hired to keep an eye on the patient and make sure she isn’t actually eating.
The tagline poses the question of whether the town is hiding a saint who is “surviving on manna from heaven,” or whether there are darker forces at play.
The following is everything that we currently know about the movie.
Exactly what happens in The Wonder?
In 1862, Lib Wright (Pugh), an English nurse, is dispatched to the Irish Midlands to check on a young girl who suddenly stops eating but miraculously continues to thrive.
Anna, a young religious girl who is said to have gone without food for months, draws tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.
Even sceptics like journalist Will Byrne (Tom Burke), who thinks Anna is being fed in secret, show up to cast doubt on the theory.
In the first trailer, which was released by Netflix in October and can be viewed above, an unnamed character is heard telling Lib, “It’s not your job to question us. You are only here to observe, aren’t you?
Lib and another woman are scheduled to give separate testimony after fourteen days. I’m here to find out the truth,” Lib says toward the end of the trailer.
There are a lot of famous people in the British and Irish cast.
Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Kla Lord Cassidy, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Dermot Crowley, Bran F. O’Byrne, and David Wilmot join Florence Pugh and Tom Burke in this ensemble.
Everyone in the cast is either British or Irish. No one else is from anywhere else.
This Irish period drama is directed by Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio. The Wonder will be directed by Sebastián Lelio.
He said in a statement, “By adapting Emma Donoghue’s powerful novel The Wonder for the screen, I not only have the opportunity to depict the collision of reason and faith, the individual and the community, obedience, and rebellion, but also to explore my own interpretation of what a ‘period’ film can be.”
Lelio also expressed his excitement over casting the courageous and charismatic Florence Pugh in the role of the film’s strong female protagonist.
You might recognize Lelio from his roles in Gloria (2013), A Fantastic Woman (2017), or Disobedience.
The 2018 Oscar for Best Foreign Film went to A Fantastic Woman, marking a first for Chile. Disobedience, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, was set in North London’s Orthodox Jewish community and centered on the two women’s illicit relationship, and is just one example of Lelio’s work that examines religious faith and the pull between individuals and community.
The Wonder is adapted from Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name.
The plot of Donoghue’s 2016 novel and the 2017 film is identical.
Visitors flood Anna O’Donnell, 11, who claims to be sustaining herself on “manna from heaven,” and a reporter is dispatched to cover the phenomenon.
A nurse who served with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, Lib Wright, is hired to look after the young girl.
Is this based on actual events?
The Wonder’s Anna, whose story is based on the Victorian era phenomenon of the “fasting girls,” is a composite of several such cases, so it’s not entirely true.
“I came across the Fasting Girl phenomenon in the mid-1990s,” Donoghue says. “That’s so long ago that I can’t even remember where I first read about these girls and young women.”
These cases piqued my interest immediately because they echoed medieval saints who fasted as a form of penance and modern anorexics, but they were distinct from both.
That these girls became famous for their fasting seems to say a lot about the cultural expectations placed on women in many Western countries from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.
However, I was never presented with a single true case that made me feel like I had to write about it.
Some of the deaths were too tragic, even for a writer with my morbid taste; little Sarah Jacob, who was being “watched” by nurses in 1869, is one such example. Some were just plain funny, like the 1813 scandal involving cheater Ann Moore.
Twenty years later, the story of the Fasting Girls still fascinates me. I decided to break from my usual practice of basing a historical novel on a true case and instead allow myself to create a narrative.
Since the Great Famine of the 1840s, the Irish have come to define themselves as a “people intimate with hunger,” so naturally, I’d set the story there.
Scenes for The Wonder were shot on location in Ireland.
Location filming for The Wonder, a Netflix original, took place primarily in and around County Wicklow in eastern Ireland during the months of August and September 2021.
In August 2021, Pugh wrote on Instagram, “We’ve been traipsing around the Irish hills for the last week, and it’s truly been a magnificent start to a beautiful and exciting film.”
In addition, she mentioned that it was a “new Hollywood”:
Pugh wrote before the film’s release, “We shot it last summer, through thick mud, surprising sudden mountain rainstorms, and just as surprising brief sunny spells.”
A big thanks go out to everyone who lent a hand during our stay. Patient and enthusiastic spectators. Our hosts in the quiet village that became the 1860s for our film.
We can’t tell you how much we value your help. It was the most perfect summer ever; Ireland, we adored you.
When can we expect to see the first episode of ‘The Wonder’?
The historical thriller debuted in Canada at TIFF, and it will make its European debut at San Sebastián IFF. On November 2, 2022, it will be released in select theatres across the United States.
The Wonder can be viewed on Netflix immediately.