Disney announced March 13 that it was suspending production on Guillermo del Toro’s star-studded “Nightmare Alley” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it turns out it was the director himself who first approached the studio asking to shut down the set. Del Toro made the reveal in an IndieWire Live interview with Eric Kohn (watch above).
“We stopped the shoot a week before [the industry shut down]. We reacted super fast, we proposed the studio to stop as opposed to being asked to stop,” del Toro said. “That saved us. Nobody to my knowledge in the cast or the crew got coronavirus. We were roughly 45 percent in. We were literally in the middle of a great scene. We went to lunch and talked to the studio and when we came back we said, ‘Everybody leave your tools and leave now.’”
“Nightmare Alley” is del Toro’s follow-up to “The Shape of Water,” which won the filmmaker Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director. The film is an adaptation of the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name and stars Bradley Cooper as an ambitious carnival worker with a talent for manipulating people with his words. Cooper’s character falls in love with a mysterious psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who proves far more dangerous than he could ever imagine. The cast includes carnival worker Molly (Rooney Mara), head barker Clem (Willem Dafoe), and Bruno the Strongman (Ron Perlman).