HOLLYWOOD -- Director, writer and producer Guillermo del Toro is the man behind the new dramatic thriller, "Nightmare Alley." The two-time Oscar winner for "The Shape of Water" is shaping up to be another buzzed about contender for his latest outing.
"Nightmare Alley" takes us back to the late 1930s. Bradley Cooper plays a man who shows up one day and joins the carnival world, soon realizing it could change his world. How it will ultimately alter his life is how the movie plays out.
"We follow the character of Bradley Cooper 99.9% of the time on screen. And that needs a certain type of actor that can hold your attention and has the grasp to find the truth every one of those seconds or minutes or hours on the screen. And that was the choice. The ideal choice was Bradley Cooper," said del Toro.
The filmmaker says this story is the flipside of the American dream. But his cast considers him a dream to work with on a movie they're excited for you to see.
"He's just one of the more genuine, passionate and incredibly intelligent and insightful cinematographers but also thoughtful. His breadth of knowledge is extraordinary," said David Strathairn.
"I just thought it was brilliant," said Richard Jenkins. "My wife, who saw it with me, and when the lights came up, she said, 'This is the movie I needed to see.'"
Willem Dafoe plays the carnival manager. He also runs the sideshow.
"I have fond memories when I was a child of going to the carnival and going to sideshows and they were sort of very different from my life. The people were very different from who I was when I was a kid and they were sort of darkly romantic figures for me," said Dafoe.
When it comes to beasts, del Toro considers Cooper the King Kong of this piece. And Cate Blanchett?
"She is an avenging angel. And she's a very moving character. She is not just evil or grand. She also has vulnerability and pain and all that. And she said yes," said del Toro. "And we have King Kong and Godzilla."
"Nightmare Alley" is rated R. It's in theatres on Friday, Dec. 17.