Nightmare Alley: Release Date, Cast and More

nightmare alley release date

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Nightmare AlleyGuillermo del Toro‘s first feature film since winning the Oscar for The Shape of Water, is almost here. Adapting the novel by William Lindsay Gresham, del Toro has assembled a killer cast to tell a story of con artists, carnies, and nefarious psychiatrists. We’ve yet to see any footage of the film, nor have we gotten any official images. But the hype is very real for del Toro’s latest. As you await further details, here’s everything we know about Nightmare Alley so far.

Nightmare Alley Release Date and Where You Can Watch It

Nightmare Alley is set for a December 3, 2021 release in theaters. The winter release date suggests both that the film will likely play some festivals (TIFF seems like the most likely candidate since del Toro shot a large portion of the movie in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and then go on to be part of awards season buzz. This is a Searchlight release exclusive to theaters for now – but that could always change.

What Is Nightmare Alley?

Nightmare Alley is the new film by director Guillermo del Toro. The movie draws inspiration from the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name. The novel was adapted to the screen once before in 1947, starring Tyrone Power and directed by Edmund Goulding. That adaptation didn’t stick very close to Gresham’s novel, and del Toro’s take is said to be more faithful.

That said, the filmmaker added: “My adaptation that I’ve done with [co-writer] Kim Morgan is not necessarily—the entire book is impossible, it’s a saga. But there are elements that are darker in the book, and it’s the first chance I have—in my short films I wanted to do noir. It was horror and noir. And now is the first chance I have to do a real underbelly of society type of movie. [There are] no supernatural elements. Just a straight, really dark story.” The film recently landed an R rating for “Strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity, and language.”

“I’m inspired and elated to be joined by this brilliant cast. Kim Morgan and I have worked with great passion to bring the dark, raw world and language of William Gresham to the screen and now we are joined by a superb group of artists and technicians to bring it to life,” del Toro said when production began.

Nightmare Alley Synopsis

In Nightmare Alley, “an ambitious young carny (Bradley Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is. The carnival cast includes carnival worker Molly (Rooney Mara), head barker Clem (Willem Dafoe), and Ron Perlman as Bruno the Strongman. Richard Jenkins is part of the high society crowd as wealthy industrialist Ezra Grindle.”

For comparison’s sake, here’s the synopsis of the novel:

Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a carnival-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 assistant (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.

Nightmare Alley Director, Crew, and More

Guillermo del Toro directs Nightmare Alley, making this his first feature directorial effort since 2017’s The Shape of Water. The filmmaker co-wrote the screenplay with Kim Morgan. The film is being produced by del Toro and J. Miles Dale. The film was overseen by Searchlight Pictures Presidents of Production for Film and Television David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield and Senior Vice President DanTram Nguyen. The film’s costume designer is Luis Sequeira, director of photography is Dan Laustsen, ASC, DFF, and Dennis Berardi is visual effects supervisor. Tamara Deverall is production designer, while Cam McLauchlin is the movie’s editor. Alexandre Desplat handles the score.

Nightmare Alley Cast

Guillermo del Toro has put together a fantastic cast to bring Nightmare Alley to life. That cast includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins (who appeared in del Toro’s The Shape of Water), Rooney Mara, resident del Toro player Ron Perlman, David StrathairnTim Blake Nelson, Mary SteenburgenHolt McCallanyJim Beaver, and Clifton Collins Jr.

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