Richard Jenkins Interview: ‘The Shape of Water’
“I saw a bunch of three-dimensional characters, not just one or two, but everybody had a life,” reveals Richard Jenkins about reading the script for “The Shape of Water” for the first time months ago. In our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above), he adds that his character of Giles has “an incredible arc. He’s this guy dealing with his own life, his own world, his own loves, his own desires.”
Giles is the closeted next-door neighbor to Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who works at a secretive governmental facility during the Cold War in 1962. Her bosses have just brought in a sea creature (Doug Jones), so they concoct a scheme to kidnap him from the agents and Russian spies before the creature can be further tortured or even dissected. The film also stars Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Michael Shannon. The movie from Fox Searchlight is directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) and co-written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. Having already played at several festivals to excellent reviews, the movie will have a limited release in the United States beginning December 1.
Jenkins’ voice opens and closes the film. He discusses secrets behind how the last poetic words from the movie were discovered: “Narration is hard, it’s really hard. I didn’t have the final narration until about two weeks before I stopped shooting. Guillermo came up to me and said, ‘I found this poem in a book store today.’ It’s written by a man hundreds of years ago and was his love letter to God. That’s how that came to be.”
Jenkins is an Emmy Award winner for his leading role in the 2014 limited series “Olive Kitteridge” opposite Frances McDormand. He received an Oscar nomination for the 2008 film “The Visitor,” which also brought him an Independent Spirit Awards nomination. Other Indie noms have been for “Flirting with Disaster” (1996) and “Bone Tomahawk” (2015). His lengthy movie career has included “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “Step Brothers,” “Burn After Reading,” “Eat Pray Love,” “Jack Reacher,” “The Hollars,” and “Kong: Skull Island.”