FISH-MAN’S FRIEND

Guillermo del Toro in­tro­duces his mon­ster ro­mance, The Shape Of Wa­ter

Empire (Australasia) - - Preview - WORDS CHRIS HE­WITT

“I’VE AL­WAYS LOVED sea crea­tures,” says Guillermo del Toro. “I wanted to be a ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist when I was grow­ing up.” A fine am­bi­tion, but when del Toro stood clutch­ing the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber, he must have been glad he made a dif­fer­ent choice.

The pres­ti­gious award was for his lat­est movie, The Shape Of Wa­ter, which is a ten­der love story. But, this be­ing Guillermo del Toro, cin­ema’s pre­mier pur­veyor of Gothic fan­tasy, there’s a twist: the love story is be­tween

Sally Hawkins’ mute clean­ing lady and an am­phib­ian crea­ture (del Toro stal­wart Doug Jones) that she frees from the gov­ern­ment fa­cil­ity where she works. “I al­ways think that when beauty and the beast fall in love, they should fall in love the way they are,” says del Toro. “Do not ex­pect a trans­for­ma­tion. That is an el­e­ment I find very mov­ing.”

Del Toro has ex­plored the­matic ter­ri­tory along these lines in the Hell­boy movies, but never to this ex­tent. It’s an itch he’s been des­per­ate to scratch. “Ten years ago I was pitch­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of do­ing an Ama­zon ad­ven­ture with a crea­ture, and said the lead­ing lady and the crea­ture should fall in love,” he ex­plains. “It’s been with me a long time.” Ex­pect it to linger long in your mind, too.

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