While creative mastermind Guillermo del Toro has had his hands full with various projects in numerous mediums, his last film as a director was 2017’s The Shape of Water. The almost four year gap between directing projects looks to have been worth it, as del Toro has finally tackled a passion project near and dear to his heart: a re-adaptation of the noir classic Nightmare Alley. Starring Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett, as part of an impressive all-star cast, this new project still asks a frequent question that Guillermo del Toro is known to ponder: where is the line between a man and a beast?
Searchlight Pictures has finally released a trailer for Mr. del Toro’s latest film, which may surprise some of his fans and the public at large. Instead of his usual dabbling in the forces of the supernatural, Nightmare Alley is an R-rated film noir, grounded very much in reality. Though that’s not to say an air of the mystical is totally absent, as the film shows Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) and Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) put on a mind-reader act that separates fools from their money through what feels like the power of magic.
While this first look at Nightmare Alley is merely a teaser, it's enough to fire up the imagination in terms of what's to come. But if there's anything that can outdo the gorgeous visuals that are on display, it has to be the supporting cast that make up the world of Guillermo del Toro's latest film. Everyone from David Strathairn to Willem Dafoe plays their roles in this period piece, which follows Bradley Cooper's Stan from the dingy world of the carnival to the world of high society. At every turn, there's a mark to be had, and a consequence just moments away from being fulfilled. And yes, Ron Perlman is part of the picture, reuniting with his Hellboy/Pacific Rim director for the occasion.
Adapted from author William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 page turner, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Nightmare Alley committed to the screen. A 1947 version, starring Tyrone Power, was coincidentally a product of 20th Century Fox; which probably explains how Guillermo del Toro was able to tackle the project in a more contemporary fashion. But be forewarned, this isn’t merely an adaptation of the previous film. Mr. del Toro, who co-wrote Nightmare Alley’s script with writer Kim Morgan, has gone on record as stating that this is a re-adaptation of facets from Gresham’s original novel.
While the extended wait for a new Guillermo del Toro film may sound a bit extreme, it’s only because he’s had his hand shepherding projects like Netflix’s Trollhunters series, as well as Scott Cooper’s Antlers. The latter project being another Searchlight Pictures film that’s set to be released in October, it looks like Nightmare Alley will be a great bookend for Cooper’s definitely supernatural thriller. So those looking for a cinematic del Toro fix are about to be doubly rewarded, thanks to his efforts as producer and director.
Nightmare Alley takes us into the world of Stanton Carlisle, with all the deceptions and consequences it entails, on December 17th. So be sure to plan your movie calendar accordingly, by using our 2021 release schedule. You never know what other webs of intrigue you could fall into on any given weekend.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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