Visionary storyteller, Guillermo del Toro is all set to make a welcome return to cinemas this week with arguably his most identifiable and immediate film to date, the film noir thriller Nightmare Alley.
Directed from a screenplay by del Toro & Kim Morgan, adapted from William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 fatalistic novel, and boasting a star-studded ensemble cast including Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Richard Jenkins and David Strathairn, Nightmare Alley follows down-on-his-luck Stanton Carlisle (Cooper) who endears himself to clairvoyant Zeena (Collette) and her has-been mentalist husband Pete (Strathairn) at a travelling carnival. Selling his soul to the art of the con, Stanton soon crafts a golden ticket to success by using his newly acquired knowledge to extort the wealthy elite of 1940s New York society, preying on humans’ need to believe in “something.” With the virtuous Molly (Mara) loyally by his side, Stanton plots to con a dangerous tycoon (Jenkins) with the aid of a mysterious psychiatrist (Blanchett) despite fears that she might be his most formidable opponent yet.
Ahead of this Friday’s release of the film, SCREAM sat down with Ron Perlman, who revealed how he had been the one who introduced del Toro to the original Edmund Goulding film many moons ago, and how, despite never having been a big fan of remakes, he always felt there was a bigger Nightmare Alley story to tell with the scope of a Greek tragedy about a man who has both real talent and deep, human foibles…
Words: Howard Gorman