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Guillermo del Toro Taps Scott Cooper for ‘Antlers’ and Sets New Project ‘Nightmare Alley’ (EXCLUSIVE)

After Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” landed a leading seven nominations at the Golden Globes, Fox Searchlight has ramped up development on two projects with the filmmaker.

Sources tell Variety that Searchlight is in negotiations with “Hostiles” director Scott Cooper to direct the supernatural pic “Antlers,” which del Toro is producing. Del Toro has been a fan of Cooper’s for some time now, and the two were eager to work together.

Del Toro is also setting up a new directing gig, attaching himself to write and direct a remake of the 1947 Fox movie “Nightmare Alley.” Sources indicate that this will likely not be his next directing job, as he still has to pen the script, which he plans to co-write with Kim Morgan.

“I am delighted to continue the producing partnership that has been forged with Fox Searchlight during the making of ‘The Shape of Water,'” del Toro said in a statement. “Nancy, Steve, David and Matthew and the entire team are great champions of true cinema. With both ‘Nightmare Alley’ and ‘Antlers’ I know we will create entertaining, elevated films.”

“Antlers” was penned by Henry Chaisson & Nick Antosca and is based on the short story “The Quiet Boy” by Antosca. Searchlight recently acquired the supernatural horror spec that follows a young teacher who discovers that her troubled student’s father and younger brother harbor a deadly supernatural secret. Taking the boy into her care, the teacher must fight for their survival against horrors beyond imagination.

Joining del Toro as producers are David Goyer, Miles Dale, and Kevin Turen with Antosca exec producing.

For Cooper, “Antlers” will mark a step in a new direction. He has yet to helm a film in the supernatural genre, though his past movies such as “Out of the Furnace” and “Black Mass” had a certain edge. His latest film “Hostiles,” which stars Christian Bale, premiered earlier this year at Telluride. He is repped by CAA.

As for “Nightmare Alley,” the original movie starred Tyrone Power as an ambitious young con-man who hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more corrupt than he is. At first, they enjoy success fleecing people with their mentalist act, but then she turns the table on him, out-manipulating the manipulator.

Del Toro will produce the remake as well.

This fall has marked a return to form for del Toro, with “Shape of Water” receiving some the best reviews of his career. Described as a Cold War fairytale, the movie stars Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer and has grossed $1.3 million in only 43 theaters.

He is also producing “Pacific Rim Uprising,” which bows next spring, and is developing a “Fantastic Voyage” remake with James Cameron, which he hopes to direct in the near future.

He is repped by WME and Exile Entertainment.

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