Searchlight Pictures has announced production is now underway on Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” adapted by del Toro and Kim Morgan from the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name. Many of the official cast has been previously announced, but the confirmed ensemble includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, and David Strathairn. Del Toro is shooting the film in Toronto, Canada. Per Searchlight, principal photography started this week.
Searchlight’s production start announcement also confirms the crew members who are working with del Toro on “Nightmare Alley.” Excitingly, Richard Jenkins is far from the only person from “The Shape of Water” reuniting with del Toro on his new project. “The Shape of Water” costume designer Luis Sequeira, cinematographer Dan Laustsen, visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi, and editor Cam McLauchlin are all working with del Toro on “Nightmare Alley.” New to the group is production designer Tamara Deverell, who last worked with del Toro on his FX television series “The Strain.”
Searchlight’s official synopsis for del Toro’s latest project reads: “In ‘Nightmare Alley,’ an ambitious young carny (Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is. The carnival cast includes carnival worker Molly (Mara), head barker Clem (Willem Dafoe), and Ron Perlman as Bruno the Strongman. Richard Jenkins is part of the high society crowd as wealthy industrialist Ezra Grindle.”
“I’m inspired and elated to be joined by this brilliant cast,” del Toro said in a statement announcing the beginning of production. “Kim Morgan and I have worked with great passion to bring the dark, raw world and language of William Gresham to the screen and now we are joined by a superb group of artists and technicians to bring it to life.”
Producer J. Miles Dale is also reuniting with del Toro after “Shape of Water” and added, “Given the depth of this incredible cast, I consider it a bucket list privilege to be working alongside them all with the support of our great partners at Searchlight. It’s going to be a joy to watch these world class actors and Guillermo elevate each other’s craft in this new interpretation of Gresham’s seminal novel.”
Searchlight has not announced a theatrical release date for “Nightmare Alley,” though some believe it could be ready for the 2020-21 awards season with a fall debut. Del Toro’s “Shape of Water” premiered at the Venice Film Festival on its way to winning Best Picture.