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