The next film from Academy Award winning director Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley, is shaping up to be a good one, with actress Toni Collette announcing that she has signed on to play a leading role. Nightmare Alley is based on the 1946 novel by William Lindsay. Del Toro’s will be the book’s second film adaptation; the first was back in 1947, directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Tyrone Power. It was well received and is regarded by many critics to be an undervalued classic in the film noir genre.
Collette—whose latest film, Knives Out, was just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival—joins Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, all of whom have finalized contracts with Fox Searchlight Pictures to act in Nightmare Alley. Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins are in the mix as well, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Nightmare Alley revolves around a sordid cast of characters who work in a carnival. Collette will reportedly play a mentalist named Zeena who mentors Cooper’s character, another mentalist and second-rate grifter. The script was co-written by del Toro and Kim Morgan. Production is set to begin early next year in Toronto.
Collette said she is exciting about the opportunity to work with del Toro, a director she admires.
“Guillermo is a true auteur,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with him and the amazing cast he has already assembled. What an honour.”
Del Toro was born in Mexico and made his directorial debut in 1985 with Dona Lupe. He has since gained a reputation as one of the best filmmakers in the business. Pan’s Labyrinth, released in 2006, won three Academy Awards and was nominated for two more, including best original screenplay. Del Toro’s best known and most successful movie is the 2017 romantic fantasy The Shape of Water, which received 13 nominations at the Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design and Best Original Score.