Guillermo del Toro started his trek down Nightmare Alley last week, and now Searchlight Pictures is making things official with a new synopsis and character descriptions for the film’s genuinely stacked cast, headlined by Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett.
The film, which Del Toro co-wrote with Kim Morgan, is based on the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham. Here’s the new official synopsis:
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.
In addition to Cooper and Blanchett, the cast features 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.”
“I’m inspired and elated to be joined by this brilliant cast,” Del Toro said in a statement. “Kim Morgan and I have worked with great passion to bring the dark, raw world and language of William Gresham to the screen and now we are joined by a superb group of artists and technicians to bring it to life.”
Nightmare Alley will be the director’s follow-up to the genuinely delightful monster-who-fucks tale The Shape of Water, which landed Best Director and Best Picture Oscars. The filmmaker is joined by a crew of longtime collaborators, including Shape of Water trio director of photography Dan Laustsen, costume designer Luis Sequeira, and visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi, who also worked on Crimson Peak.
For more on Nightmare Alley, here’s what Willem Dafoe had to say about production when we sat down with the actor back in November.