Searchlight Pictures has debuted the first official photos from Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. The film is del Toro’s follow-up to Best Picture winner “The Shape of Water,” which also won him the Academy Award for Best Director. In an interview with Vanity Fair, del Toro stressed that “Nightmare Alley” is not the kind of horror and/or fantasy genre exercise fans have come to expect from him. Del Toro said he hopes the film’s title doesn’t give off a false impression, as the film is more of a classic film noir than a horror movie.
“That is a distinct possibility,” del Toro said about the title misleading viewers. “It has happened to me in the past with ‘Crimson Peak,’ where people went in expecting a horror movie. I knew it was a gothic romance but it was very difficult to put that across. But yes, this has no supernatural element. It’s based completely in a reality world. There is nothing fantastic. It’s a very different movie from my usual, but yes, the title and my name would create that [impression].”
As reported by Vanity Fair: “Bradley Cooper stars as Stanton Carlisle, a former carnival worker who becomes a big-city star as a nightclub performer, using cold-reading tricks he picked up in the sideshow to create the impression he is a powerful mind reader. Now the marks and rubes he targets are millionaires. Cate Blanchett plays Dr. Lilith Ritter, a psychiatrist who first tries to expose him as a charlatan, then becomes embroiled in his schemes.”
The supporting cast includes Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, Holt McCallany, Clifton Collins Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, and David Strathairn.
“The carnival is almost like a microcosm of the world,” del Toro said of his film’s setting. “Everybody’s there to swindle everybody. But at the same time in the carnival, the [workers] know they need each other. In the city, much less so.”
Del Toro continued, “Curiously enough, in approaching ‘Nightmare Alley,’ I said I’m not going to do any of the clichés associated with the genre. I’m not going to do an artifact. I’m not going to do the Venetian blinds, and voiceover, and detectives walking with fedoras in wet streets. I wanted to do the universe of the novel, which is a little gritty, but also strangely magical. It has a very strange, mystical allure— and mythical. I was very attracted to that possibility.”
Searchlight Pictures is set to open “Nightmare Alley” in theaters December 17. Check out first look photos below.