Watch: New ‘Nightmare Alley’ featurette highlights twisted cast of characters

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The best movie you probably never saw this December was Nightmare Alley, Guillermo del Toro’s first film since he shocked everyone by winning the Oscar for 2017’s highbrow monster flick, The Shape of Water. The neo-noir thriller had a lot to win over to cinephiles, but sadly general audiences ended up giving it a wide berth. It tanked hard at the box office, perhaps due to a combination of the rise of the Omicron variant and the invincibility of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

But if you’re interested in seeing it, there’s still time to check it out as Nightmare Alley remains screening in many theaters. And if you need just a little bit more incentive, check out this new featurette (via the video above) which highlights the film’s twisted cast of characters, played by some of the finest actors in Hollywood. Bradley Cooper leads as con-man carny Stanton Carlisle, with able support from Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, and Cate Blanchett.

In this featurette, del Toro speaks out on his aims to subvert the typical gendered tropes of noir movies, revealing that he wanted to make Cooper’s character a “homme fatale” instead of the usual femme fatale. While Stan is the story’s center point, the three leading female roles remain key to the narrative as, in del Toro’s words, they “illuminate the darkness that is Stan.”

An adaptation of the 1946 novel of the same name, which previously came to the screen in 1947, Nightmare Alley tells the dark tale of an ambitious carnival mentalist with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words. However, as he achieves fame and power, he hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett), who proves to be even more dangerous than he is.

Nightmare Alley is at the tail-end of its theatrical run, but it’s expected to arrive on digital sometime in February.