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PRODUCTION / FUNDING UK / Ireland

Florence Pugh joins Sebastián Lelio for Ireland-set psychological thriller The Wonder

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- Filming starts this summer on the Irish-UK co-production, adapted from the Emma Donoghue (Room) novel by screenwriter Alice Birch

Florence Pugh joins Sebastián Lelio for Ireland-set psychological thriller The Wonder
Actress Florence Pugh

British actress Florence Pugh adds to her bevy of prestigious leading roles with The Wonder [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastián Lelio
film profile
]
, a mysterious-sounding period thriller that teams her with Academy Award-winning Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. Lelio won his Oscar for 2017’s A Fantastic Woman [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and has since transitioned to English-language features, like his compatriot Pablo Larraín. Emma Donoghue (known for writing the film and novel of Room [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
) wrote the originating 2016 novel, and Alice Birch, who worked on Normal People, Succession and Lady Macbeth [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: William Oldroyd
film profile
]
— starring Florence Pugh in her breakthrough — is adapting the screenplay.

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The UK-Ireland co-production has an eye-catching longline. Taking place in the Irish midlands in 1859, the story follows an English nurse residing in Ireland (Pugh), who is summoned to an isolated village to observe an unusual patient — an eleven-year-old girl who has survived without food for months. The strange event, thought to be an unprecedented medical anomaly, causes a local sensation, bringing curious tourists to the region as well as catching the interest of a journalist. A reviewer of the novel compared it to Donoghue’s Booker-shortlisted Room, calling it a “domestic psychodrama that draws its power from quotidian detail as well as gothic horror, as a woman and a child at close quarters must draw on inner resources to survive an impossible situation.”

Principal photography for The Wonder begins on location in Ireland this August. Its main producers are Ed Guiney, whose Element Pictures has worked with Lelio and Birch multiple times, and Tessa Ross. Past collaborations between Element and Ross include Room and Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2015 smash The Lobster [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile
]
.

Florence Pugh made her breakthrough performance with Lady Macbeth, but has largely stuck to US roles since in films like Midsommar, Little Women and the upcoming Black Widow. Lelio’s past co-productions with European partners include Disobedience [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, A Fantastic Woman and Gloria [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the latter two of which won awards at the Berlinale.

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