'Nightmare Alley' star says Guillermo del Toro brought an actual magician on set to help teach the cast illusions
Nightmare Alley" star David Strathairnsaid there was a magician on set to help with illusions.
- According to Strathairn, the magician would help the cast with "sleight of hand" and card tricks.
Guillermo del Toro's new film "Nightmare Alley" transports viewers to the raucous and rowdy world of traveling carnivals within its very first moments.
At the center of the story is Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a down-and-out con man with a mysterious past. After he falls in with would-be mind reader Zeena (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic, mentalist husband Pete (David Strathairn), Stan becomes intoxicated with the power that mind tricks and illusions can bring.
During a recent press conference for the film, Strathairn revealed that del Toro went the extra mile to make sure cast members in the carnival portion of the film had everything they needed for their performances.
"We had a magician on set who would help us when we had sleight-of-hand things, card trick stuff," Strathairn said, though his own character "never employed any of those" kinds of illusions.
"Guillermo offered whatever you would need," the "Nomadland" actor continued. "The encyclopedia, the resource material that obviously he brings to every one of his films — it was like the library of Alexandria when it comes to mentalism and carnies and carnivals and all of that stuff."
Strathairn said that the cast was "very privileged" to have access to del Toro's wealth of resources.
"It was really valuable," he told reporters.
Del Toro appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Monday night, and shared some of his encyclopedic knowledge about carnivals — including the difference between pickled sideshow attractions — with the host, later quizzing Kimmel on 1940s slang.
The "Shape of Water" director revealed that he even took home the monstrous, three-eyed pickled baby (dubbed "Enoch" in the film) from the set.
"I just couldn't resist the little guy," del Toro joked to Kimmel.
"Nightmare Alley" stars Cooper, Strathairn, and Collette, as well as Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, and Richard Jenkins. The film premieres December 17 in theaters, and you can watch the trailer below.
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