Movie About Coney Island’s Real-Life Baby Saver Incubates At Nash Entertainment

EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Nash’s Nash Entertainment and Robert Kosberg have teamed with Hacksaw Ridge exec producer James M. Vernon’s MFM and Simon David Hunters’ Myth Film Company to produce Dreamland, a film based on the true story of neonatal care pioneer Dr. Martin Couney.

In the early 20th century, Couney opened the Baby Incubators exhibit at Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park in New York, saving thousands of preemies who were not allowed in most hospitals at that time.

Couney had introduced the first premature baby incubators to America, but was initially shunned by the medical community, which led to the creation of one of the amusement park’s most famous exhibits. Couney charged gawkers so that parents wouldn’t have to pay medical expenses and to fund his efforts to provide care for babies deemed untreatable.

Medical professionals rebuked his unorthodox approach and sought to close down the exhibit, especially when Dreamland went up in flames in the 1911 Coney Island fire. The babies were saved from the fire by Coney Island’s “human marvels” — the people society and amusement parks labeled freaks. Ultimately, Couney prevailed upon the medical establishment and forced hospitals to accept the incubators nationwide.

Speaking with Deadline, Nash, who learned of the story more than 15 years ago, said his passion for making the picture derived from strong feelings that the story needed to be told. “There are things that you do for business and there are things that you do that are just worth doing,” he said.

A script has been completed and producers are currently looking to attach a director, with production to take place in Australia.

Nash’s upcoming slate includes The Greatest Gift, from Sully scribe Todd Komarnicki, about the story that inspired the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life.

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