Del Toro Turned Gresham’s 1946 “Nightmare Alley” Novel into a Psycho Thriller


The film project “Nightmare Alley” announced by Guillermo del Toro in 2017 is finally complete after filming in January 2020 was delayed due to the pandemic. Based on the 1946 novel written by William Lindsay Gresham, Guiilermo del Toro and Kim Morgan wrote and developed the screenplay for a psycho thriller movie. Disney’s Searchlight Pictures has announced that the movie is set for release on December 03, 2021.

“Nightmare Alley” Cast and Crew

“Nightmare Alley” headlines Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchet in the lead roles. Cooper plays the ambitious and manipulative carnival worker Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, while Blanchet takes on the role of Dr. Lilith Ritte, a female psychiatrist who might turn out to be more vicious than Carlisle. Other actors making up the cast of characters in Gresham’s sleazy, shadowy world of carnival entertainment, include William Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Toni Colette, Rooney Mara, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn and a host of other stars.

Guillermo del Toro who also directed the film, reunited with several members of the crew who worked with him in the 2017 fantasy romance film “The Shape of Water,” namely cinematographer Dan Laustsen, costume designer Luis Sequeira, editor Cam McLauchlin and visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi. A new addition is production designer Tamara Deverell who worked with del Toro in “The Strain” the FX TV series.

About “Nightmare Alley” the Novel

William Lindsay Gresham wrote “Nightmare Alley” while working as editor of a New York “true crime” segment of s 1940s pulp magazine. Gresham said the plot was based on stories shared by a former carnival worker whom Gresham met while doing voluntary service for the loyalist Repunlican forces in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, the main character, is an ambitious man who started out as a carnival worker but became a successful solo act performer outside of the carnival. Carlisle, later transformed into a Spiritualist preacher, offering seance sessions with the help of Molly, also a former circus worker with whom Carlisle had a secret intimate relationship.
The pressures of his double life as a preacher led him to the arms of a psychiatrist, who turned out to be more cunning and ambitious than him. That’s when Carlisle’s troubles begin.

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