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The last time Guillermo del Toro directed a movie, it won Best Picture at the Oscars — no small accomplishment for a sci-fi film about an aquatic love affair. Fast-forward four years since The Shape of Water made its big-screen splash, and del Toro is nearing the long-awaited premiere date for Nightmare Alley, his next directing effort, featuring a star-studded cast anchored by Bradley Cooper as a carnival barker who may get more than he bargained for in a morally questionable quest to hawk his freaky secrets.
Finally primed for a December debut after enduring the same pandemic delays that affected the rest of the entertainment world, Nightmare Alley just dropped its very first teaser trailer — and it looks like a more tension-thick, action-focused movie than its Oscar-winning predecessor. Laden with del Toro’s hallmark evocative visuals and oozing tons of dark atmosphere, it casts Cooper’s charismatic carnie in fiery shadow — all the better to dial up the drama.
Check it out:
Laced with illusions of supernatural secrets (just the sort of thing to get people to pony up for a gawk at all those carnival oddities), Nightmare Alley pairs Cooper’s character — a guy with “a talent for manipulating people,” according to the synopsis — with a female psychiatrist (played by Cate Blanchett) “who is even more dangerous than he is.”
As the trailer teases, del Toro has assembled an acting tour de force in his new take on the eponymous 1946 noir novel by William Lindsay, on which the film is based. Starring alongside Cooper is a whole constellation of talent, including Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, David Strathairn, and Toni Collette.
Step right up and get in line early: Nightmare Alley is set to pull back the curtain, via Searchlight Pictures, when it rolls into theaters on Dec. 17.