There’s An Eerie True Story Behind Florence Pugh’s Latest Period Drama ‘The Wonder’

It's set in a small Irish town in the 1800s.

Florence Pugh is currently in her element filming in the Irish countryside for Netflix’s new original film, The Wonder—her candid pictures prove it. Over the weekend, the actress shared the first still from the film adaptation of the acclaimed Emma Donoghue novel by the same title. 

Pugh, 26, plays main character Lib who is a British nurse brought to a small village to observe a young girl who has stopped eating, but remains miraculously alive. The narrative is based on a novel written by Emma Donoghue which was actually inspired by a true story (more on that below). 

For the role, the British actress dyed her hair brunette (yes, we can confirm it’s not a wig), and has temporarily settled herself in the Irish hills during filming. 

Florence Pugh
(Credit: @florencepugh)

Sharing a snapshot of her time in Ireland, the actress proved she was really leaning into the local lifestyle. In a post to Instagram, Florence cheersed the camera with a pint of Guinness and writing: “Happy Friday lads… DELICIOUS GUINNESS”.  

In the image, her dyed brunette hair is visible—a noticeable change from her usual blonde locks. We’re definitely into it. 

(Credit: Instagram)

Given the enticing first look and general love of everything and anything Florence Pugh does, we got to wondering what the new Netflix film is all about. 

Here, everything you need to know about The Wonder, including its plot, cast list and the intriguing true story that inspired it. 

Is The Wonder based on a true story? 

In the book written by Emma Donoghue, she makes a note that the narrative was inspired by a real life phenomenon between the 16th and 20th century called the ‘Fasting Girls’. Sporadically, stories emerged of several adolescent girls who had the ability to go for long periods of time without eating or consuming any kind of nourishment, with some claiming to have special religious or magical powers not yet known to humans. 

The mysterious stories have circled for years with a variety of recounts. Later, an historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg claimed the phenomenon was a very early example of the eating disorder we now know as anorexia nervosa.

One particular real life case appears to resemble that of The Wonder‘s narrative—a Welsh girl named Sarah Jacob. It was said she went without food for two years. When people discovered her story, a team of nurses were assigned to observe what was happening. The girl died of starvation a week later. A year later, her parents were convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison.

What is the plot of The Wonder

The Wonder is a psychological thriller centred around English nurse Lib who travels to a small town to observe an 11-year-old girl, Anna O’Donnell, who has stopped eating but somehow remains alive and healthy. 

Tourists and pilgrims descend on the town to glimpse the girl who has survived for months without sustenance—but a mysterious unknown lurks, is this the work of God, or is something more ominous happening?

The film is based on the 19th century phenomenon of the ‘fasting girls’ and is adapted from the novel by Emma Donoghue

Who is in the cast of The Wonder?

Florence Pugh plays main character and English nurse Lib, while Kíla Lord Cassidy plays the young girl, Anna. The young up-and-comer has had roles in The Doorman and ITV mini series, Viewpoint.

Directing the Netflix film is Sebastián Lelio, who is known for his work at the helm of A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience. 
(Credit: ITV)

When will The Wonder be released? 

At this stage, the Netflix adaptation looks set for a 2022 release date, with an official date yet to be announced. Of course, we’ll be updating this piece when new information comes to light.

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