The Shape of Water inspirations

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Daniel Eagan
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The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:40 am

Guillermo del Toro spoke Sunday night at the Museum of Modern Art after a screening of his movie, which stars Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon.

Del Toro said he wrote the script for Hawkins, and that when she agreed to take the part he sent her packages of Blu-rays as research. They included box sets of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, "and most especially Stan Laurel."

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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by precode » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:26 pm

Daniel Eagan wrote:Guillermo del Toro spoke Sunday night at the Museum of Modern Art after a screening of his movie, which stars Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon.

Del Toro said he wrote the script for Hawkins, and that when she agreed to take the part he sent her packages of Blu-rays as research. They included box sets of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, "and most especially Stan Laurel."
Well, her character is mute, so he felt it would help her communicate without her voice. The inspiration for the story itself is the Julie Adams/Gill Man swimming scene in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, which entranced Guillermo when he was six.

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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by dalefullerfan2014 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:49 pm

Check out this 12 minute short from the Netherlands released two years ago "The Space Between Us" It can be seen on you-tube.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:49 am

Saw this last night and loved it. Sally Hawkins can say more with a raised eyebrow than most actors with a paragraph of dialogue. Nice to have a mini-Boardwalk Empire reunion of Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg as well.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Frederica » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:24 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Saw this last night and loved it. Sally Hawkins can say more with a raised eyebrow than most actors with a paragraph of dialogue. Nice to have a mini-Boardwalk Empire reunion of Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg as well.
It's a beautiful film. I'll spare some love for Doug Jones, too. Like Andy Serkis, he is a master of...shall we say "non-traditional" acting.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:12 pm

Frederica wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Saw this last night and loved it. Sally Hawkins can say more with a raised eyebrow than most actors with a paragraph of dialogue. Nice to have a mini-Boardwalk Empire reunion of Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg as well.
It's a beautiful film. I'll spare some love for Doug Jones, too. Like Andy Serkis, he is a master of...shall we say "non-traditional" acting.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jones a few years back, around the time of Pan's Labyrinth. Lovely man, who really enjoys his most interesting career.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Wm. Charles Morrow » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:47 am

Back in the 1960s, playwright Paul Zindel wrote an unusual play called Let Me Hear You Whisper. It was later adapted for TV, and that version came out on video a few years ago. (The DVD is available from Netflix.) The first time I heard about The Shape of Water, I immediately thought of this play. Why? Well, here's a synopsis I found online, judge for yourself:

"The action is set in the laboratory of the American Biological Association Development for the Advancement of Brain Analysis, where curious experiments involving various mammals are taking place. Helen, a newly engaged cleaning lady, is particularly drawn to a dolphin and is shocked when she learns that, having failed to 'talk' as hoped for, it is slated for brain dissection. She makes a desperate attempt to rescue the dolphin from the scientists, incurring first their indignation and then, when the dolphin does indeed 'talk' for Helen, their futile pleas that she change her mind about leaving and stay on to help them in their experiments. But the gentle Helen has had enough—both of 'Custodial Engineering' and of schemes to change man's relationship to the other creatures with whom the world must be shared."

Hmmm . . .
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Frederica » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:49 am

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:Back in the 1960s, playwright Paul Zindel wrote an unusual play called Let Me Hear You Whisper. It was later adapted for TV, and that version came out on video a few years ago. (The DVD is available from Netflix.) The first time I heard about The Shape of Water, I immediately thought of this play. Why? Well, here's a synopsis I found online, judge for yourself:

"The action is set in the laboratory of the American Biological Association Development for the Advancement of Brain Analysis, where curious experiments involving various mammals are taking place. Helen, a newly engaged cleaning lady, is particularly drawn to a dolphin and is shocked when she learns that, having failed to 'talk' as hoped for, it is slated for brain dissection. She makes a desperate attempt to rescue the dolphin from the scientists, incurring first their indignation and then, when the dolphin does indeed 'talk' for Helen, their futile pleas that she change her mind about leaving and stay on to help them in their experiments. But the gentle Helen has had enough—both of 'Custodial Engineering' and of schemes to change man's relationship to the other creatures with whom the world must be shared."

Hmmm . . .
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Frederica » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:58 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Frederica wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Saw this last night and loved it. Sally Hawkins can say more with a raised eyebrow than most actors with a paragraph of dialogue. Nice to have a mini-Boardwalk Empire reunion of Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg as well.
It's a beautiful film. I'll spare some love for Doug Jones, too. Like Andy Serkis, he is a master of...shall we say "non-traditional" acting.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jones a few years back, around the time of Pan's Labyrinth. Lovely man, who really enjoys his most interesting career.
He's having a moment now, as a cast member on ST: Discovery. I think his days of relative anonymity are over. He was not on my radar before Discovery so I was surprised to find out how many films and television programs he's been in and how many of them I've seen without focusing on who that guy was.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Frederica » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:51 am

The Austin Film Critics Association have announced the winners of their awards for 2017:
https://austinfilmcritics.org/2017-aust ... 5ce8c11b71" target="_blank" target="_blank

Particularly of interest (to me, at least, and apropos of this conversation), "The AFCA also announces two Special Awards, honoring The Shape of Water’s Doug Jones and War for the Planet of the Apes’ Andy Serkis for their exemplary body and motion-capture performances, respectively, and the late Harry Dean Stanton for his long and distinguished career."

MoCap is an increasingly important part of an actor's repertoire (as is voice acting), but it tends to be treated like the ugly stepchild. I'm glad to see both Jones and Serkis get some recognition for their work.

Also Harry Dean Stanton should get some kind of award every year, just because he was Harry Dean Stanton.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Wm. Charles Morrow » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:49 pm

Looks like this film's similarity with Paul Zindel's play has not gone unnoticed:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/j ... milarities" target="_blank
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:15 am

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:Looks like this film's similarity with Paul Zindel's play has not gone unnoticed:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/j ... milarities" target="_blank" target="_blank
Haven't seen the Zindel play but the similarities strike me as entirely coincidental. Del Toro could have been "inspired" by The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the monsters are virtually identical, but that doesn't mean he plagiarized it.

I would bet that the motives and contexts for the two pieces are completely different, no matter how many plot points they share.

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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:03 am

There are certain stories that are determined by the setting. I can pretty much guarantee that any submarine movie is going to include a sequence where they're being pursued by another vessel and have to dive deeper than it's rated to go, and the old man is going to say "Take her to 650," and the first mate will say "She can't handle the pressure! She'll crack up!" And water will drip from the seams, but they'll make it.

Anyway, my point is that once you have the setup of having a creature in the lab, then certain things will follow: the scientists (especially in a 60s-70s play) will be militaristic Strangelove types, the humble ordinary person will be the only one with any humanity, she will try to get through to the creature (and how do you do that but by building trust with food), etc. I mean, when have we seen this before? With dolphins in Day of the Dolphin, with a chimp in Project X (1987), there are elements of it in everything from Arrival to Okja...

I don't dismiss the claim. But the articles about it tend to shape it in a way that emphasizes the similarities, and obviously Del Toro is someone who likes to make movies out of past movies-- but the very things that are most distinctive about The Shape of Water (the eroticism, the emphasis on loneliness, Richard Jenkins' character, etc.) don't seem to be in Zindel's play.

The most interesting thing about it being inspired by the Creature from the Black Lagoon is that the same year that Universal misfired horribly trying to launch a monsters "universe" with The Mummy, Del Toro finally pulled it off, giving new life to a Universal monster in a hit film. For Fox Searchlight.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by drednm » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:46 am

Watched this last night. The film is filled with anachronisms but possibly the biggest error is that we're told the creatures live up the Amazon yet it requires salt water (sea water) to live. Oops.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by fwtep » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:46 pm

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/23/entertai ... index.html" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

'Shape of Water' suit filed right before Oscars


(CNN) One of the Oscar frontrunners has been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit.

David Zindel is alleging the creators behind "The Shape of Water" plagiarized the play "Let Me Hear You Whisper," which was written by his late father, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel.

According to the suit, the 1969 play "tells the story of a lonely janitorial cleaning woman who works the graveyard shift at a scientific laboratory facility that performs animal experiments for military use."

"She becomes fascinated by a fantastic intelligent aquatic creature, held captive in a glass tank," the suit states. "To the sounds of romantic vintage music playing on a record player, she forms a deep, loving bond with the creature, discovering that it can communicate -- but chooses to do so only with her."

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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by stonefacejr » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:08 pm

drednm wrote:The film is filled with anachronisms but possibly the biggest error is that we're told the creatures live up the Amazon yet it requires salt water (sea water) to live. Oops.
Don't be so quick with the "oops."" If we assume the Creature lived primarily in a lagoon (like the original Creature from the Black Lagoon), the lagoon, according to Wikipedia, can be either fresh water or salt water: "Some authorities include fresh water bodies in the definition of "lagoon", while others explicitly restrict "lagoon" to bodies of water with some degree of salinity."

Also, just because Strickland (Michael Shannon) says he dragged the Creature out of the river muck does not mean it lived primarily in the river, only that that may be where he captured it. After all, it is an amphibian. The film suggests it can live in fresh water, just as it can live (temporarily) entirely out of water, but the film shows that eventually it must return to salt water or die. Also, when Strickland says the natives in the Amazon worshiped it, he does not mean the river, but the Amazon region.

Rather than the writers, Isn't it more likely that the error is being made by Strickland, a non-scientist, when he says he dragged the Creature out of the "river muck" instead of "lagoon muck." Imagine someone correcting him. I would not want to be that person.

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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by drednm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:44 am

Having watched Let Me Hear You Whisper, it's quite obvious that this Zindel play was the source for the basic plot of The Shape of Water. There are far too many similarities to be coincidental.
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by Zool » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:48 pm

A similar thing happened years ago with Life of Pi.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/ ... sandprizes" target="_blank
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Re: The Shape of Water inspirations

Unread post by itslefty » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:10 pm

'Splash'

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