Guillermo del Toro’s last movie, The Shape of Water, made nearly $200 million at the box office and won four Oscars, including Best Picture. If he wasn’t already, he’s now officially a Blank Check director. So, what would he do for his follow-up? Make a psychological thriller about a carny starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, and Ron Perlman, of course.
Based on William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley is about an “ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is,” according to the official plot summary. Cooper is the carny (with a mustache!), Blanchett is the female psychiatrist, and Dafoe presumably plays a grinning weirdo.
“That is a distinct possibility,” del Toro told Vanity Fair when asked about the possibility of the title misleading viewers into thinking he’s made another horror movie. “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].”
Nightmare Alley opens on December 17.