The film stars Pugh as English nurse Lib Wright, who’s called out to the Irish Midlands in 1862 to observe a “fasting girl”: 11-year-old Anna, who claims not to have eaten for four months.
While Anna’s parents and many of the village's all-male committee believe it’s a religious miracle, Lib is certain of fraud and sets out to convince Anna to eat.
And it was this push back against the delusion around her, which had to be discreet, that Pugh found both “exciting” and “infuriating” to embody.
Opening up about the challenges of playing Lib, Pugh explained in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com: "I choose roles where there’s always something that that woman is pushing back on and loudly pushing back on, and it’s something that I love playing, whether it’s in a different era."
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She continued: "And for this I read the script and I was like, 'Yes, pushing back!' And then actually I came to play to it and I was like, 'No, she can’t push back because we’re dealing with a completely different time, with a religion that was so impressive and powerful that no matter how much she knew and how much she was aware of what was going on – she believed in science over religion – she can’t say that.'
"And so for the first time ever in any role that I’ve done, I actually couldn’t be loud about it. I had to be quiet about it, and that was what made it really, really exciting and fascinating to do. Her push back was infuriating but it couldn’t be done in a loud aggressive way that we can do now, and that was exciting for me to do."
The Wonder was released in UK cinemas on 4th November and will come to Netflix on Wednesday 16th November. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.
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