Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel is the latest film to take center stage under the 2017 awards season big top.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Thursday that the drama will have its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall as part of the New York Film Festival‘s 55th edition, joining previously announced centerpiece selection Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes) and opening night film Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater) among the lineup.
Set in the 1950s, Wonder Wheel stars Kate Winslet as the wife of a Coney Island carousel operator (James Belushi) whose life is rerouted by the arrival of her spouse’s estranged daughter (Juno Temple). Justin Timberlake plays a lifeguard who crosses paths with the central characters, with the film being framed through his perspective.
Three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) shot the period film, which is based on Allen’s original script. Debi Mazar, Max Casella, and Tony Sirico have supporting roles.
“I’m not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless,” festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “There are elements in the film that will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows Woody Allen’s work, but here he holds them up to a completely new light. I mean that literally and figuratively, because Allen and Vittorio Storaro use light and color in a way that is stunning in and of itself but also integral to the mounting emotional power of the film. And at the center of it all is Kate Winslet’s absolutely remarkable performance — precious few actors are that talented, or fearless.”
Amazon Studios has set Wonder Wheel — Allen’s third NYFF title, after 1994’s centerpiece screening of Bullets Over Broadway and 1998’s opening night showing of Celebrity — for an awards-friendly theatrical release on Dec. 1, making it the first title the distributor will unveil independently. It also marks Allen’s first directorial project to debut outside the summer movie season since 2010’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, as each of his subsequent pictures has since been released between May and July.
Last year’s closing feature was James Gray’s The Lost City of Z, while Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead concluded the festival in 2015.
The 2017 New York Film Festival runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 15.