Guillermo del Toro Interview: ‘The Shape of Water’
Director Guillermo del Toro is so proud of his newest project “The Shape of Water” that he confesses to Gold Derby that it’s “my favorite film I’ve done by far.” In our recent video interview (watch above), del Toro continues, “Then comes ‘Devil’s Backbone,’ ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ ‘Crimson Peak,’ ‘Pacific Rim’ and ‘Hellboy 2.’ It’s by order of traumatic experience.”
“The Shape of Water,” which del Toro describes as “a fairy tale for troubled times,” stars Oscar contender Sally Hawkins as a mute janitor who falls in love with an amphibian man during the Cold War. “The plot is simple so that we can then make the characters complex and the interactions thematic,” del Toro explains. “We have a lot of fun with it. It’s a movie that mixes thriller, musical, drama, melodrama, creature. It’s a gorgeous sort of a movie that is in love with love, and in love with cinema.”
“The idea has been with me for several decades,” del Toro reveals when we inquire about the process of breaking the original story. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that a script was finalized. “I started writing in 2012 and by 2014 I had the whole story with the beats, the characters, the way you see it — except the subplot of the Russian spies.”
Del Toro beams when we ask about his long-time friends and fellow directors Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman” and “The Revenant”), who both have won Oscars in recent years. “There was a moment [in 2006] where we all felt like a historical weight. For Mexico, it would have been great to win Best Director or Best Picture or Best Foreign Film and we got other things, but not those. And then when Alfonso got it, it was like an exhalation.”
“The great thing about friendship is good things happen to friends as if they happen to you. When Alfonso won my mom called me from Mexico and said, ‘Your brother won.'” Del Toro adds that “It would be great” for him to join Cuaron and Inarritu by taking home his own Oscar at the upcoming ceremony. He’ll have three shots at nominations this year for “The Shape of Water” — as a producer, directer and co-writer (with Vanessa Taylor) for the Fox Searchlight film.