nightmare alley cast cate blanchett

Guillermo del Toro‘s return to directing is attracting some serious talent. New reports indicate Toni Collette, Cate Blanchett, Rooney MaraMichael Shannon, and more are all in being considered or are in talks to join del Toro’s Nightmare Alley cast. Bradley Cooper is already set to star in the adaptation of the novel of the same name, about a con-man who teams up with a psychiatrist. And since this is a del Toro movie, bugs and/or monsters are probably going to be involved at some point.

Nightmare Alley looks like it’s shaping up to have a dream cast. Bradley Cooper is already in, and now Variety is saying Cate Blanchett is in talks to join the project as well. Collider confirms the Blanchett news and adds that Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Michael Shannon, Richard JenkinsRon PerlmanWillem Dafoe, and Mark Povinelli all might show up in the flick as well.

Jenkins and Shannon worked on del Toro’s last movie, the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, and Perlman has done several films with the director, including Hellboy. Blanchett and Mara previously worked together in Carol (they were also both in Song to Song, but didn’t share any scenes). This potential cast is damned impressive, and if del Toro manages to land them all, Nightmare Alley is going to draw a lot of attention.

Nightmare Alley is based on William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name. Here’s the book’s synopsis:

Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.

And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.

Cooper is playing Stan, a con artist. Collette would play Zeena Krumbein, a phony psychic at a traveling carnival. Dafoe is probably playing her husband. Perlman would portray the carnival’s strongman. Jenkins is one of the marks Stan hopes to con. Mara is wanted for the role of Molly, a woman who Stan is attracted to. And Blanchett is in talks to play Stan’s psychologist, who may be something of a con artist herself.

I’m a big fan of del Toro’s work, and I’m also a fan of practically this entire cast, so Nightmare Alley is shaping up to top my personal “must see” list. Production is expected to start this fall.

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