Doug Jones Spills a Few Details About Guillermo Del Toro's 'The Shape of Water'

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  • Guillermo del Toro
    Guillermo del Toro
    Mexican film director
  • Doug Jones
    American actor, contortionist and mime
Doug Jones as Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro's 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'
Doug Jones as Abe Sapien in Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’

Guillermo Del Toro clearly likes working with actor Doug Jones. The director has cast him as aquatic telepath Abe Sapien in both of his Hellboy films, as the Fauno in Pan’s Labyrinth, and as a series of ghosts in Crimson Peak. Thus, it’s no shock to learn that they’re teaming up again for the director’s upcoming supernatural period piece The Shape of Water, a shrouded-in-secrecy effort we now know a little more about thanks to a new interview with Jones by Collider.

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In the chat timed to the premiere of Jones’ latest film, The Bye Bye Man, the actor says that The Shape of Water will be cast in something of a Pan’s Labyrinth mold, insofar as it’ll use a historic moment in time as a backdrop for a story about an unusual and extraordinary relationship between a human woman and a less-than-human man.

“It’s a 1963 drama — it’s not a sci-fi [film], it’s not a genre film, but I am a creature in it. I’m a fish man that’s kind of a one-off. I’m an enigma, nobody knows where I came from; I’m the last of my species so I’m like a natural anomaly. And I’m being studied and tested in a U.S. government facility in 1963, so the Russian Cold War is on, the race for space is on, so there’s all that backdrop and that undercurrent. I’m being tested for how can they use me for advantages in military or space travel, or my technology — can we make this usable for humans? So they’re trying to keep me a secret from the Russians…

“Meanwhile, there’s a love story that brews out of it, and that would be the cleaning lady played by Sally Hawkins. She comes and finds me, has sympathy on me, and then that’s the story that you’re really gonna follow with this whole backdrop…

Related: Ron Perlman Casts Doubt on Third ‘Hellboy’ Movie

“It is artfully and beautifully [made]—if this doesn’t end up with Guillermo back at the Oscars, I will be surprised. I will be very surprised.”

Jones’ excitement about and high hopes for the project are certainly encouraging — if to be somewhat expected, and will no doubt only increase anticipation for the film, which will also star Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. You can read more of Jones’ thoughts at Collider, and keep an eye on Yahoo Movies for future news about The Shape of Water, which does not yet have a release date.

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