Florence Pugh in Sebastian Lelio's The Wonder
Florence Pugh in Sebastian Lelio's The Wonder

Sebastian Lelio’s The Wonder kicks off principal photography in Ireland

Principal photography has begun on Sebastian Lelio’s The Wonder, adapted by Emma Donoghue, Lelio and Alice Birch from Donoghue’s novel of the same name, and produced by Element Pictures and House Productions for Netflix.

The film is the first production commissioned out of the UK by Fiona Lamptey. The new Netflix UK & Ireland film slate will create ambitious, distinctive event films to give a global platform to both established and emerging talent 

The Irish Midlands, 1862 – a young girl 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? A psychological thriller inspired by the 19th century phenomenon of the “fasting girls”.

Tom Burke, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy and Kíla Lord Cassidy join lead Florence Pugh in the film. Supporting cast includes Toby Jones (First Cow), Dermot Crowley (The Death of Stalin), Brían F. O’Byrne (Little Boy Blue), Ciaran Hinds (The Terror).

Emma Donoghue follows her Academy Award© nominated adaptation of 2010 novel Room, which was produced by Element Pictures and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

The Wonder is being produced by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions and Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures, with Emma Donoghue, Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen as executive producers. It has been developed with the support of Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland and Access Entertainment.

The film is directed 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 (also produced by Element Pictures) and Gloria Bell  launched to widespread acclaim.

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 honoured that Netflix have chosen The Wonder as their first UK Features endeavour.

Sebastian Lelio, Director and Co-writer

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. 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.

Fiona Lamptey, Director UK Features – Netflix

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