Two-time Academy Award-winning Aussie icon Cate Blanchett is currently in talks to join Guillermo del Toro’s next project as director, “Nightmare Alley,” Variety reports. The follow-up to “The Shape of Water,” which earned the Mexican auteur Best Director and Best Picture Oscars, will also star Bradley Cooper. As previously reported, Cooper replaced Leonardo DiCaprio earlier this summer.
Del Toro is developing “Nightmare Alley” at Fox Searchlight, the studio that took “The Shape of Water” all the way at the 2018 Academy Awards. Del Toro is working with screenwriter Kim Morgan to adapt William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 true crime pulp novel of the same name.
The novel was previously adapted by director Edmund Goulding in 1947, but sources close to del Toro’s film say this iteration of “Nightmare Alley” is not a remake of that film, but rather, a faithful interpretation of Gresham’s text.
The novel plunges us into the demimonde of 1940s American show business, and the sleazy denizens of a carnival filled with grifters, charlatans, and noir-like femme fatales. Cooper will play a corrupt con man opposite Blanchett’s equally nefarious female psychiatrist. Together they team up to swindle innocents, only to end up manipulating each other.
Relatively green screenwriter Kim Morgan, whom del Toro took as his plus-one to the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony, is a long-time film journalist who also hails from the world of visionary Canadian auteur Guy Maddin. She starred in his films “Seances” and “The Forbidden Room,” while serving as an additional writer on both films.
Blanchett soon appears in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” out August 15, and has a surfeit of TV projects coming down the pike. She executive produces and stars for FX in “Mrs. America” as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, opposite an embarrassment of all-stars such as Uzo Aduba, Rose Byrne, Sarah Paulson, Margot Martindale, Elizabeth Banks, and Melanie Lynskey. Also coming soon is the Australian immigration-crisis series “Stateless,” co-starring Dominic West and Jai Courtney.
Del Toro, meanwhile, has been writing and producing since cleaning up at the Oscars. He has completed production on Scott Cooper’s “Antlers,” and also co-wrote and produced “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the Alvin Schwarz adaptation hitting theaters August 9.