Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy-love story, The Shape of Water has the most nominations of any film for Oscars 2018. We caught up with the Director to discover the hidden depths of his imagination and why this is a timely film.
INDULGE: Talk to us about the themes of “The Shape of Water”…
GUILLERMO: The themes of the movie are universal and timeless. So timeless that they belong in the realm of fairytales or fables. They’ve been done a million times but never like this. The idea of embracing the otherness, understanding and not transformation as a moral of love — those are very new for me. And they are very much ‘today.’ I think what has happened is when we see the movie in Toronto, Telluride, London, Venice — across the board, young and old, parents and kids, they all react with the same warmth. It’s a movie that seems to heal a lot and allows emotion to flow in a time when emotion doesn’t flow.
INDULGE: Tell us more about this “today”, the timing of the movie…
GUILLERMO: We live in a time of fear and hatred and rage. Everyday on the news and everyday on social media and everyday in our lives, we’re told to fear something — fear the others, fear the other religion, fear the immigrants, the other gender — and it’s time to embrace that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’, there is only ‘us.’
INDULGE: Can you talk about the creature in the film?
GUILLERMO: This is the first creature that I have done that is a leading man and a divine being because he is an elemental god of the river. He is not an animal. But he needs to look like an animal, and he needs to look like a human, and he needs at some point in the movie to look divine. I mean truly like a pagan god of the water. And towards the end of the movie there’s a great moment in which Doug Jones with his acting, his pose, his look, and the effects of (what is a) complete suit – not a digital effect…that moment is sublime because the creature transforms.
INDULGE: Which are your favorite scenes?
GUILLERMO: I think the opening is beautiful, the closing, the scene in the bathroom between them when they ‘sink’ the bathroom by filling it with water, the monologue of Elisa to Giles…these are things to look out for and they’re truly magical.
INDULGE: How are you able to take people on such a journey, incredible as it is?
GUILLERMO: I think that if you talk to people about a theme or an idea, and you’re used the news of the day, it becomes very antagonistic very fast. People go – I don’t believe that. They have an opinion, but if you tell them – once upon a time there was this girl with no voice and this creature that was trapped – they lower their guard. They allow the fantasy to diminish the threat and therefor it becomes more deep (your contact with the story) and so I think there’s a value in thinking about these creatures not as monsters or anything like that, but as embodiments of concepts. And the creature here is literally, the “Shape of Water.
The Shape of Water is currently is playing in theaters now. Please check your local listings here.