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

Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.”

Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At Eternity’s Gate” Oscar nominee will play 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.

Del Toro, who co-wrote the script with Kim Morgan, will direct the thriller for Fox Searchlight. Production is eyeing a start date at the top of 2020.

Nightmare Alley” is being produced and financed by del Toro and J. Miles Dale with TSG Entertainment. Fox Searchlight will distribute the film worldwide.

While Fox was already the home of a “Nightmare Alley” movie in 1947, del Toro’s adaptation will be based predominantly on the William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name. The 1947 movie starred Tyrone Power as an ambitious young con-man who teams 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 tables on him, out-manipulating the manipulator.

Dafoe is currently receiving critical notice for his performance in David Eggers’ “The Witch” follow-up, “The Lighthouse.” He can be seen next in Edward Norton’s second directorial effort, “Motherless Brooklyn,” as well as the Dee Rees political thriller “The Last Thing He Wanted.”

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He is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.

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