Del Toro’s New Movie – A Fantastical Cold War Fable?

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[Header image courtesy @deltorofilms Facebook page]

Ok, Guillermo del Toro fans — do want the good news or the bad news first?

Here’s the good news; Guillermo del Toro began filming his latest movie for Fox Searchlight Pictures. The bad news? It isn’t the long awaited (but seemingly always over the horizon) del Toro adaptation of  H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.

According to The Tracking BoardThe Shape of Water has a title, a cast overflowing with award winning and nominated actors, and a general timeframe and setting (a mysterious lab containing a strange creature in 1963 Cold War America).

The Shape of Water logo. Image courtesy deltorofilms Facebook page.
The Shape of Water logo. Image courtesy deltorofilms Facebook page.

Let’s start with the cast. If not star-studded, Water is certainly chock full of critically acclaimed performers, starting with 2011 Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.  The Oscar nominee section of the cast includes Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Richard Jenkins, along with a Golden Globe nominee Michael Stulhbarg. Genre veteran Doug Jones returns to work on his ninth collaboration with Guillermo del Toro.

Doug Jones at 2011 Comic Con San Diego. Image courtesy Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons License.
Doug Jones at 2011 Comic Con San Diego. Image courtesy Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons License.

What can the bare bones plot information tell us about The Shape of Water? At the least, there’s a good chance Doug Jones will play the “amphibious man” kept in the lab where Sally Jenkins’ character works. Any other concrete plot details are scarce.

Another interesting question for longtime GDT fans — will the Cold War era setting of Water harken back to two earlier del Toro movies that also featured fantasy/horror elements amid the lingering effects of a recent destructive conflict? Anyone who has ever seen The Devil’s Backbone (2001) or Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) can only hope that’s the case.

Both Backbone and Labyrinth, Spanish-language films set in the aftermath of the Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939), were genre stories within a reality full of human monsters. Water may be a return to this particular GDT theme after the gothic romance of Crimson Peak (2015) and the science fiction of Pacific Rim (2013).

 

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