Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’


Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”) has joined Guillermo Del Toro‘s next project, “Nightmare Alley” for Fox Searchlight. Dafoe boards the feature, which already includes a cast of Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper. 

According to Variety, sources have confirmed Dafoe will be starring as “the head barker at a traveling carnival who gives Bradley Cooper’s character a job, ushering him into a world of show biz and grifting.”

Dafoe can currently be seen in Robert Egger’s “The Lighthouse,” opening in select theaters Friday and expanding next weekend. He stars alongside Robert Pattinson (“High Life”) in an eerie story about two lighthouse keepers losing their sanity in remote solitude. Dafoe can also be seen in Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn.”

Willem Dafoe (right) stars in “The Lighthouse,” alongside Robert Pattinson (left)

The cast for Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” has been building over the past few months. In June it was announced that Cooper would be replacing the role previously considered for Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio after a deal could not be reached. Blanchett was added to the cast in early August. Mara was announced to join the cast in early September.

“Nightmare Alley” is produced and financed by del Toro and J. Miles Dale of TSG Entertainment. The film is an adaptation of the 1947 film-noir, “Nightmare Alley,” directed by Edmund Goulding. Del Toro is directing with a script he co-writes with Kim Morgan (“Seances,” “The Forbidden Room”).

Del Toro rounds out the production for his next film coming off of producing Fox’s other titles, “Antlers” and the André Øvredal-directed “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Del Toro is also set to oversee a darkly imagined take on “Pinocchio” with co-director Mark Gustafson.

“Nightmare Alley” will be distributed by Fox Searchlight, the studio that backed del Toro’s own Best Picture-winning “The Shape of Water.” Production is slated to begin shooting in early 2020.

What do you think of Willem Dafoe joining Guillermo Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley?” Share your thoughts in the comments below!