And lo, through the tumbleweeds did a wild news story appear on this wasteland of a Friday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bradley Cooper is in "early talks" to join Guillermo del Toro's next project, Nightmare Alley. Cooper would be replacing Leonardo DiCaprio as the male lead in the film, which del Toro is directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kim Morgan. Del Toro's follow-up to the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water (spoiler: it's shaped like fish man dong) is based on William Lindsay Gresham's novel of the same name, and is said to be more of a new adaptation of that work than a remake of the 1947 adaptation, directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell. Gresham's novel is split into six chapters, each representing a different Tarot card, and is described as follows:
Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.
And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.
The 1947 adaptation was a film noir that centered on a con-man (that'd be Stan) who teams up with a psychotherapist to swindle gullible folks by pretending to be a medium. If the deal goes through, Cooper would be playing the role of Stan Carlisle, making Nightmare Alley his first horror film since the 2008/2009 era of The Midnight Meat Train and Case 39 – and that's if Nightmare Alley is even a horror movie. It might be a gothic romance.