Guillermo Del Toro Discusses Origin of Nightmare Alley Adaptation, R-Rating Promised

Guillermo del Toro may not have a movie out where he is the director, but being both the co-writer and producer on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Out in theaters this weekend), he’s currently on a press tour for that film. The benefit this has is del Toro can also answer questions about his upcoming projects, namely his upcoming adaptation of the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham-written noir novel Nightmare Alley.

This novel was immediately seen turned into a movie the following year with the 1947 Edmund Goulding-directed film of the same name. Because of this film’s existence, a question roaming around is with del Toro use the previous film adaptation as influence on his own version. In an interview with Collider this week, del Toro answers that very question, quoting the following when asked that very question.

Well what it is is that book was given to me in 1992 by Ron Perlman before I saw the Tyrone Power movie, and I loved the book. 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.

Currently, del Toro is finishing the assembly of the cast that will star in his version. Bradley Cooper was already announced to lead as the con man who befriends a manipulative psychiatrist as they initially work together to con others before the psychiatrist reveals herself to be more sinister. Last week, it was announced that Cate Blanchett was in talks to take the co-lead role of the psychiatrist (See the article here). In that same piece of news, the rumored ensemble surrounding Cooper and Blanchett was spoken on. That ensemble is rumored to consist of Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Richard Jenkins, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, and Michael Shannon. However, beyond Cooper, none of these other cast members have been confirmed.

On a final note, in that same interview, del Toro confirmed that the film will be, in his own words, “Yes, big R. Like, double R!”. Hopefully, if all goes well, Nightmare Alley will be the most recent and unique addition to the director’s already distinctive career. Stay tuned!