If not for COVID, we probably would have gotten Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of Nightmare Alley this year. The film started production back in January, but had to shut down because of the pandemic, and while it restarted, it didn’t complete filming until this week. Del Toro took to Twitter to announce the completion of principal photography as well as reveal that the movie is now set to open in December 2021:
For those unfamiliar with the plot, the film follows a young carny (Bradley Cooper) who teams up with a dangerous psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett). The 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham was originally adapted in 1947 into a movie starring Tyrone Power. The film will serve as del Toro’s feature follow-up to his Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, so I’m very curious to see what he does with this material. While it’s a bummer that we’ll have to wait a year to get to it, del Toro’s movies are typically worth the wait, and its December release date means that Searchlight Pictures thinks they’ve got an awards contender on their hands, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Nightmare Alley makes the rounds on the fall 2021 festival circuit.
Nightmare Alley also stars Rooney Mara (Carol) as a carnival worker named Molly, Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse) as the show’s head barker Clem, Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Bruno the strongman, and Richard Jenkins is “part of the high society crowd as wealthy industrialist Ezra Grindle.”
Here’s the official synopsis for Nightmare Alley:
In NIGHTMARE ALLEY, an ambitious young carny (Bradley Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is.