Production is now officially underway on filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated next project. The Pan’s Labyrinth director took his time in choosing his follow-up film, as he most recently won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for his wonderful 2017 outsider love story The Shape of Water. He settled on Nightmare Alley, which is an adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name and follows a corrupt con-man who teams up with a female psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money.
The film—which del Toro co-wrote with Kim Morgan—is described as a full-on noir, and that’s teased a little bit here in the first set photo, courtesy of producer J. Miles Dale (who also produced Shape of Water). The set photo also reveals that del Toro is reuniting with cinematographer Dan Laustsen, who shot Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water, earning an Oscar nomination for his work on the latter film.
Nightmare Alley has a hell of a cast, with Bradley Cooper leading the ensemble alongside Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Willem Dafoe, and Holt McCallany. Initially, Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to lead the film, but he ended up dropping out—likely because his next collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon, starts filming this spring and would’ve bled into the Nightmare Alley production schedule.
I am mighty curious to see what del Toro puts together here. Crimson Peak was described as his first “adult drama” in the English language, as his previous dramatic films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone had been in Spanish and his English films were more blockbuster-y in nature, like Pacific Rim and the Hellboy series. But Nightmare Alley sees del Toro tackling the noir genre with a brilliant cast, and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
Check out the set photo below. Nightmare Alley will be released by Searchlight Pictures (formerly Fox Searchlight), but a date hasn’t yet been set.