First “Nightmare Alley” Trailer Reveals Bradley Cooper & Cate Blanchett in Guillermo del Toro’s Horror

One of our most reliably inventive filmmakers, Guillermo del Toro, has assembled an insanely talented cast for his latest film, Nightmare Alley, and at long last, we have our first look. Searchlight Pictures has revealed the first teaser trailer for the film, which stars Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett as a pair of mischievous souls who seem well on the path to that titular nightmare. Cooper plays Stan Carlisle, a gifted carny who can manipulate people with nothing more than a few perfectly chosen words. Blanchett plays Dr. Lillith Ritter, a psychiatrist who possibly surpasses Carlisle’s gift for manipulation.

While the trailer gives us next to nothing about the actual plot, it gives us a glimpse of another bizarre yet believable world of mercurial menace from del Toro, a master at world-building. The film is based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham and was adapted by Del Toro and Kim Morgan. Gresham’s novel, which is steeped in the shadowy world of a second-rate carnival filled with schemers, dreamers, hustlers, and femme fatales seems ideally suited for Del Toro’s abilities. Yet unlike many of del Toro’s most lauded films (Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth), Nightmare Alley has no supernatural elements. It’s a pure pulp movie, giving him the chance to “do a real underbelly of society type movie,” as he told Collider in 2019. “[There are] no supernatural elements. Just a straight, really dark story.”

Joining Cooper and Blanchett are a slew of great performers—Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn to name a few.

Check out the trailer below. Nightmare Alley hits theaters on December 17.

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Featured image: Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper in the film NIGHTMARE ALLEY. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.