Beginning this December, Coney Island will be under the spotlight thanks to Wonder Wheel, a forthcoming film that revitalizes Brooklyn’s original seaside entertainment destination. Written and directed by Woody Allen, the film depicts the dramatic unraveling of a couple in the 1950’s, all set during the historical peak of Coney Island.
Portrayed by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, this riveting film tells the story of protagonist Ginny (Kate Winslet), who falls for a young Coney Island lifeguard named Mickey (Justin Timberlake). However, Ginny is already married to carousel operator Humpty, played by Jim Belushi. When her husband’s estranged daughter, Carolina, seeks refuge from her ex-gangster partner in the couple’s apartment, chaos ensues. Carolina (Juno Temple) not only hides out with the couple, but also sets her eyes on Mickey.
In depicting nostalgic 1950’s Coney Island, Wonder Wheel follows Woody Allen’s recent trend of period pieces. The trailer features many trademarks of the island, most importantly, the world-famous Wonder Wheel itself. Originally called the “Dip-the-Dip,” the 150-feet-tall ferris wheel can be found in Deno’s Wonder Wheel park, and includes 24 cars: 16 swinging and 8 fixed.
Deemed one of the most romantic rides in the world, the Wonder Wheel has been the main attraction of the amusement park since 1920. Since it was built, around 40 million people have ridden it, and there has never been a single safety issue over the years. The 400,000 lb. ride is renewed and repainted every year to keep it fresh from outdoor elements.
The film’s trailer also showcases the beaches and boardwalks of Coney Island, along with many other rides. The parachute jump specifically can be spotted in the back left shot of the trailer’s opening scene. Often called the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn, this defunct amusement ride was built in 1939 for the World’s Fair. With a parachute attached to its 250-foot tall tower, this ride allowed visitors to free fall for 10-20 seconds. Although no longer in use, the structure still stands tall as one of Coney Island’s main landmarks.
Wonder Wheel will serve as the closing night film for the 55th New York Film Festival on October 14th, 2017, before its official release date on December 1st, 2017.