Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro’s films are known for their magical stories and fantastical settings, so his latest is a bit of a departure, even if it’s no less bewitching. Based on the 1946 novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley stars Bradley Cooper as a carnival worker-turned-high-profile mentalist and con man whose life begins to unravel after he meets a manipulative psychologist (Cate Blanchett). It’s a more grounded tale than we’ve previously gotten from del Toro, but equally as dark and mysterious as anything he’s done before. Ahead of the film’s release, RT correspondent Nikki Novak spoke about the new film with del Toro, who revealed that he rediscovers who he is as a director on every new project and explained how he had to relinquish control in order to capture his “heavyweight actors” at their best. Then, Novak also spoke with cast members Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, and David Strathairn about what it was like to work on the carnival set (“It was real. I don’t know any other way to describe it.”), how Guillermo del Toro’s directorial style allowed them to come alive, and, at least for Willem Dafoe, what it was like to live out a childhood dream and run away with the carnival for real.
Nightmare Alley opens in theaters on Friday, December 17, 2021.