Helen Mirren and Gillian Anderson headline the upcoming coming-of-age film White Bird: A Wonder Story — and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the moving trailer.
The drama is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Wonder author R. J. Palacio, which was adapted into a 2017 film starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, and sparked a movement to “choose kind.”
White Bird, the inspirational next chapter, follows Julian (Bryce Gheisar), who has struggled to belong ever since he was expelled from his former school for his treatment of Auggie Pullman. To help transform Julian’s life, the boy’s grandmother (Helen Mirren) tells him of her own story of courage — as a child (Ariella Glaser) in Nazi-occupied France, a boy (Orlando Schwerdt) sheltered her from danger.
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Anderson plays the boy’s mother who risks everything to keep the teen girl safe. Like Wonder, the film tells the story of how one act of kindness can live on forever.
Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) tells PEOPLE he was “was instantly drawn to this story about the power of hope and friendship in the midst of strife, themes I felt audiences could experience together in such a significant way.”
“I read White Bird during the first phase of the pandemic while the world was experiencing a very isolating (and divisive) time,” he explains.
Forster says he “hopes audiences leave the theatre having a deeper understanding of how a single act of kindness — no matter how big or small, can change the course of a person’s life.”
And of working with the film’s younger cast, the director says: “Orlando Schwerdt and Ariella Glaser are extraordinarily talented, they always impressed and surprised me on set. They all have bright futures ahead of them.”
White Bird: A Wonder Story, with a screenplay by Mark Bomback, opens in theaters Oct. 14.