INDIEWIRE – Rooney Mara is set to star in Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” which (excitingly) makes the project a “Carol” reunion between Mara and co-star Cate Blanchett. Deadline first reported the news. Blanchett joined the cast at the beginning August. Bradley Cooper is leading “Nightmare Alley” as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, a con artist who falls in love with a female psychiatrist and has the tables turned on him. The movie is an adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name, which spawned a 1947 film directed by Edmund Goulding and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
“Nightmare Alley” is set to be del Toro’s first directorial project since “The Shape of Water,” which won him the Oscar for Best Director. The science-fiction period romance also took home the Academy Award for Best Picture. Del Toro wrote the “Nightmare Alley” script with Kim Morgan and is developing the project with Fox Searchlight, the studio behind “Shape of Water” (a box office hit with $192 million worldwide) and Scott Cooper’s “Antlers” (for which del Toro serves as producer). The filmmaker is also developing his stop-motion passion project “Pinocchio” at Netflix, but Deadline reports “Nightmare Alley” will shoot first.
Rooney Mara graced the big screen earlier this year in the title role of Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene.” Other recent credits include Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song,” and David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story.” For “Carol,” Mara was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The film also earned Blanchett a nomination for Best Actress.
Deadline reports Mara is set to play Molly in “Nightmare Alley.” The character is being described as “the closest thing to Stan’s true love. He meets her early on and they take the act they learned from the circus to Chicago.” Del Toro has promised fans that “Alley” will be R-rated and feature “a really dark story.” The Oscar-winning filmmaker said the new project will be “the first chance I have to do a real underbelly-of-society type of movie.”
Production on “Nightmare Alley” is expected to begin this fall. Fox Searchlight has not announced a release date.