Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Shape of Water is almost here after a complicated production process, and the teaser trailer promises a star-studded film noir poised to answer the question: is Bradley Cooper man or beast?
Nightmare Alley, based off a 1946 book by William Lindsay Gresham, tells the story of a highly manipulative former carnival worker, Stanton Carlisle (Cooper), who has a knack for scamming millionaires. When Stanton gets involved with psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), however, he realizes he may have met his match.
The teaser trailer for the movie shows off the famous faces starring alongside Cooper and Blanchett, including Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, and Mary Steenburgen.
The film is a departure for del Toro, who is known for his monster-led movies. Nightmare Alley, instead, is a psychological thriller and modern film noir at its core. “This has no supernatural element,” del Toro told Vanity Fair. “It’s based completely in a reality world. There is nothing fantastic. It’s a very different movie from my usual, but yes, the title and my name would create that [impression].”
The coronavirus forced production of the film to shut down just a few months after it began in early 2020, but that wasn’t the only issue the movie faced during its creation. “We shot the second half before the first half,” Cooper said at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, according to Indiewire. “We didn’t want to do it that way. Things happened to us, with sets and other actors’ availability and water, the snow and all that.” Cooper admitted he also paused production at one point. “I had moved to New York and said, ‘I can’t do it right now. Let me get settled.'”
Despite that, Cooper says that the experience bonded the cast. “We have been making Nightmare Alley for the last two and a half years,” he said “It was a unique experience, going through the pandemic, taking six months off and revisiting it. We not only become lifelong friends, but it was an artistic experience.”
Nightmare Alley will be released in theaters on December 17, 2021.