Willem Dafoe Reveals When Filming Begins on Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’

     November 4, 2019


Guillermo del Toro had a very good 2017 having finally received Oscars for his acclaimed drama The Shape of Water. Since then, we’ve been wondering what would be his follow and he answered us earlier this year by moving forward on a new adaptation of Nightmare Alley. Based on the book by William Lindsay Gresham, the story “is set in a world of carnival hustlers and con men, telling the story of a mentalist who teams with a psychologist in order to swindle the rich. Things go south for the poor sap when he is out-hustled by the woman.”

Unsurprisingly, del Toro has lined up a top-notch cast for the project. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Toni Collette, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, David Strathairn, Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins, and Willem Dafoe.


Image via Fox Searchlight

At the press day for The Lighthouse, Steve Weintraub asked Dafoe about when he might start filming Nightmare Alley, and Dafoe replied, “I’m very excited about this project. Juicy project. A good role. We shoot that in March. We start in March.”

The question then becomes how quickly del Toro might be able to turn it around. Since the film is more of a thriller, it may not be an “Oscar” movie, but then again, Argo was unambiguously a thriller and it took home Best Picture. Also, a movie where a woman falls in love with a fish-man doesn’t scream “Academy Awards”, and yet it was the 2017 awards darling. If del Toro can get Nightmare Alley shot and edited in 2020 (it doesn’t seem like it would be a VFX-heavy project), it’s possible we could have a new film from the director as early as the fall.

But that’s a big if, and there’s really no need to rush the project. If it arrives in 2021, that’s also fine, but we can’t wait to see what del Toro has in store.

For more on Nightmare Alley, here’s all our previous coverage.

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