Roll up, roll up and feast your eyes on the teaser trailer for Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley. The Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water helmer returns with another darkly alluring fairy tale, one topped with an incredible cast. Here's the new poster.
The exact nature of the story is elusive at this stage, but this is what we can make of it (when we're not distracted by the lush visuals). A Star is Born's Bradley Cooper plays Stanton Carlisle, a loner who rocks up at a carnival presided over by Willem Dafoe's 'barker' (promoter) Clem Hoately. One imagines that he falls under Hoately's tutelage while also appearing to fall under the spell of two very different women: Cate Blanchett's manipulative Dr. Lillith Ritter, and Rooney Mara's Molly Cahill. Thrown into the mix is Toni Colette's Zeena Krumbein, a medium.
That's quite the ensemble, and we haven't even mentioned the presence of Richard Jenkins, del Toro favourite Ron Perlman and David Straithairn. Imagine a world spun by Tim Burton, only slightly more perverse and dangerous (the director says the movie will be R-rated in America). Check out the trailer below.
As always with del Toro, there's a rich seam of genre heritage coursing through the movie. It's the second adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham's 1926 novel; the first came in 1947, starring Tyrone Power as Stanton.
Del Toro has praised his collaboration with Cooper, saying: "Curiosity and integrity are the two things, they are very bonded [...] We're like truffle hunters, smelling for that, looking for certain truth, not verisimilitude or realism but truth which is a higher form of telling a story. How we get to it is only through curiosity. When we have collaborators, the main reward is a point of view that you can literally bounce off, or get bounced off, and seek for the truth…I found it a blessing at age 56 in this movie to find the marvel of complicity and curiosity. 'Is this all we can do with that scene, with that shot?' You keep seeking."
That's a typically poetic and askance response from a director famous for his nightmarish yet dazzling visions. The pressure is on Nightmare Alley to live up to the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, which won del Toro the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director.
Nightmare Alley is set for release in December 2021.