Suggesting that Bradley Cooper might have formally found a new niche for himself in the world of playing grizzled, alcohol-reliant public performers, Variety reports today that the Star Is Bornactor-director is in talks to star in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. Adapted-as was the 1947 version, starring Tyrone Power-from William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name, the film would chart the rise and fall of a con man with a knack for passing himself off as a psychic. (So, kind of like your standard John Edward-type, but with more biting the heads off of chickens.)
Del Toro has been trying to line up a cast for the movie for a minute now; back in April, we reported that Hollywood’s favorite sexy-fishman fisherman had potentially hooked Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Stanton Carlisle, an upwardly mobile grifter with a taste for dangerous women and (occasionally) chicken blood. DiCaprio reportedly passed, but Cooper has now moved into his place; he’s apparently considering an offer.
Both the film and novel version of Nightmare Alley are generally held up as classics, using sensationalist trappings to tell a very human story about the lengths a guy will go to to make a buck. It seems like prime material for both Cooper and del Toro, who’s directing in addition to working on the screenplay with Kim Morgan.