Anne is an introverted, audacious and self-conscious African American woman. She is a confident and experienced trapeze artist, having performed with her brother for many years. Throughout the movie Anne is seen to be deeply affected by the racist times of the 19th Century. Her internal conflicts, partnered with her skin colour discrimination, stop her from feeling truly accepted in society.
Anne is recognized by various characters for her beauty, with Phillip Carlyle falling deeply in love with her at first sight.
Anne has long brown hair often worn down while not in costume. However, when Anne performs she stands out with her pink wig, matching her vibrant purple costume.
Anne displays a few notable athletic abilities. She is able to perform on trapeze at stunning speeds with ease and skill, such as in the musical number 'The Greatest Show' where she is seen to fly across the stage while singing. Despite her slim figure, Anne seems to have considerable strength. In the musical number 'Rewrite the Stars' she is able to perform aerial rope performances with a rope holding on by one hand.
The Greatest Showman
Anne and her brother W. D. Wheeler attend one P. T. Barnum's audition's for 'unique persons' to join Barnum's American Museum. They join the performance, performing a trapeze and acrobatic act.While performing a trapeze act during one of the shows, Anne catches glimpse of Phillip Carlyle, a new producer for the show. After the show, Anne is introduced to Phillip by Barnum. Phillip begins to fall in love with Anne, and soon she begins to do the same.
Phillip organizes for Barnum and some acts to England to meet Queen Victoria who had taken an interest in the show. Assuming she and her brother will not be allowed to attend due to their skin colour, Anne asks if every act is invited, to which Phillip responds that he will tell the Queen all of them will come or none at all.
Anne is invited to the theatre to watch Jenny Lind, a European singer, perform. Believing she was watching the performance by herself she is surprised when Phillip arrives requesting the two tickets put aside by Barnum. Anne likes Phillip's attempt at organizing a date, however before even entering the theatre, Phillip's mother and father stop him and tell him to stop associating with 'the help'. Anne leaves, hurt.Anne retreats back to the circus, followed by Phillip who begins to confess his love for her. Anne tells him they can't be together because of who she is and who he is. The two perform the musical number 'Rewrite the Stars', each expressing their feelings for one another. However, due to the difficulties at the time, Anne's internal conflicts convince her to put aside her feelings for Phillip.
When the circus building catches fire and begins to burn down, Anne fails to escape with the rest of the troupe through the front entrance, causing panic by her brother W. D.. Phillip goes back into the building to try and save Anne, however Anne has escaped unharmed through the back exit of the building. The building collapses around Phillip, leaving him unconscious.While in hospital, Anne watches over Phillip. Here she sees all the cuts and burns he received from trying to rescue her. Anne tearfully reprises a verse from 'Rewrite the Stars' and Philip wakes. Relieved he's OK, Anne kisses him.
Anne is impressed when Phillip offers to continue the circus if he and Barnum become even partners. In the final musical number, Anne and Phillip perform alongside one another, kissing at the song's conclusion, symbolizing the start of a relationship.
"Mr. Barnum said he left a ticket for me."
"I've always wanted to go to the theatre."
"You've never had somebody look at you the way your parents looked at me. The way everyone would look at us."
"You think it's easy. You think I don't wanna run to you. But there are mountains and there are doors that we can't walk through." (Rewrite the Stars)
"You know I want you. It's not a secret I try to hide. But I can't have you. We're bound to break and my hands...are tied." (Rewrite the Stars)
"And what is your act, Mr Carlyle?"
"Everyone's got an act."
- Anne Wheeler is a fictional character and is not based on a historical person.
- Zendaya, the actress that portrayed Wheeler, did all of her own trapeze stunts.
- During her time with Disney Zendaya starred in "Shake It Up", "Best Frenemies", "Zapped", and "K.C. Undercover".
- In real life Zendaya is part African American and part Caucasian American. Her father is African and her mother is white.