nightmare alley remake

Guillermo del Toro is ready to return to directing after winning an Oscar for The Shape of Water. The filmmaker will helm a remake of the 1940s noir Nightmare Alley, and he’s already attracting some serious star power. Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to star in del Toro’s movie, which will follow a con-man who teams up with a psychic, and then later a psychiatrist, to scam people. Since del Toro’s involved, I’m assuming some sort of sexy monster will show up at some point. But maybe not.

Variety broke the news about Leonardo DiCaprio in talks to join Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. The film would be adapted from the novel byWilliam Lindsay Gresham, which was previously adapted into a 1947 original movie. The novel is described as “a ferocious psychological portrait of a charismatic carnival hustler, creates an unforgettable atmosphere of duplicity, corruption, and self-destruction.” Here’s the plot of the 1947 movie adaptation:

Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) joins a traveling carny and unsuccessfully schemes to figure out the mind-reading act of Mademoiselle Zeena (Joan Blondell) and her alcoholic husband, Pete (Ian Keith). But when Pete dies, Zeena is forced to take on Stanton as a partner, and he quickly proves more gifted than his predecessor. Ambitious to a fault, Carlisle abandons Zeena and the carny to reinvent himself as “The Great Stanton,” wowing high-class audiences in a Chicago hotel.

Eventually, Stanton teams up with psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter, and the two start up an act in which Stanton pretends to channel “the dead relatives of high-class socialites.” However, one of the scams backfires. Variety’s says the story follows a “con-man who hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more corrupt than he is. At first, they enjoy success fleecing people with their mentalist act, but then she turns the table on him, out-manipulating the manipulator.”

Nightmare Alley

While it’s always possible del Toro might want to stretch himself and make a full-blown film noir, I could easily see him applying some of his usual monstrous aesthetic to this material – especially when it comes to the carnival setting.

Since winning his Oscar, del Toro has been primarily writing and producing, but not directing. Nightmare Alley will thankfully get him back behind the camera. DiCaprio has also been on a bit of hiatus, having not acted since 2015’s The Revenant. He’ll be back on the big screen later this year with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in HollywoodNightmare Alley will likely start filming this fall, after del Toro finds the rest of his cast. The Nightmare Alley remake script comes from del Toro and Kim Morgan. The prospect of del Toro and DiCaprio working together is exciting, and should make for an interesting pairing.

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