The first image of Florence Pugh in the new psychological thriller The Wonder has just dropped, courtesy of Netflix. A Fantastic Woman‘s Sebastian Lelio is directing and co-writing the feature, with Emma Donoghue adapting her novel of the same name alongside Alice Birch. Donoghue notably wrote the book and screenplay for Room, which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. The movie is currently filming in Ireland, as you can tell by the lovely moorish background in the image.
The book and film are set in the Irish Midlands in 1862, and follow a young girl, 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who stops eating and yet strangely remains alive and well. Pugh stars as an English nurse, Lib Wright, who is brought to the village to observe the girl. Her saintly existence quickly becomes worthly of a pilgrimage mass and tourist destination, but there might be some more ominous motives at work. Pugh will be joined by other cast members Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Dermot Crowley, Brían F. O’Byrne, and David Wilmot.
Donoghue‘s story is inspired by the historical phenomenon of ‘”fasting girls.” Pre-adolescent Victorian girls said they were able to survive over long periods of time without eating, claiming to have special religious or magical powers. The Victorian period had an unusual obsession with the occult and magic, and historians have attributed various different reasons for the phenomenon, including induced psychosis or an early example of anorexia.
The first image shows Pugh back in period costuming, against the beautiful greenish fade of the Irish Midlands. She is seemingly standing in a graveyard, surrounded by makeshift wooden crosses. Given that this is a thriller set in the moors in the 19th century, it certainly harkens back to Pugh‘s breakout role in Lady Macbeth. Alluring, cunning, and unpredictable, her Katherine Lester was unmissable in William Oldroyd‘s slow-burn film. Pugh‘s Lib Wright doesn’t seem to be of the same ilk as Katherine Lester, but it will certainly be interesting to compare the two.
Pugh recently starred in Marvel Studios‘ Black Widow as Yelena Belova, and will reprise the same character in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye. She also recently completed filming on Olivia Wilde‘s sophomore directorial feature Don’t Worry Darling, starring Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, and Harry Styles. Additionally, Pugh is attached to Zach Braff‘s latest directorial endeavor A Good Person, which is still in the early stages of production. But one project that definitely catches my eye is Dolly, an upcoming Apple TV+ sci-fi courtroom drama about a robotic companion doll that kills its owner, claims she’s not guilty, and asks for a lawyer.
There is no release date yet for The Wonder‘s premiere on Netflix.