The esteemed filmmaker’s psychological thriller is based on William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name and follows Cooper’s Stan Carlisle, “a former carnival worker who becomes a big-city star as a nightclub performer, using cold-reading tricks he picked up in the sideshow to create the impression he is a powerful mind reader.” He then meets Blanchett’s Dr. Lilith Ritter, a psychologist who initially attempts to expose him but eventually becomes part of his plans.
Joining Cooper and Blanchett are Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara and more.
“When I was growing up, I wanted for sure to do two genres: noir and horror,” del Toro said in a interview with Vanity Fair. “Curiously enough, in approaching Nightmare Alley, I said I’m not going to do any of the clichés associated with the genre. I’m not going to do an artifact. I’m not going to do the Venetian blinds, and voiceover, and detectives walking with fedoras in wet streets. I wanted to do the universe of the novel, which is a little gritty, but also strangely magical. It has a very strange, mystical allure— and mythical. I was very attracted to that possibility.”
Watch the trailer above. Nightmare Alley premieres December 17.
Elsewhere in entertainment, Billie Eilish, Simone Biles have been named TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021.