See the first footage of this other-worldly romance

By Nick Romano
July 19, 2017 at 10:32 AM EDT
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Audiences for War for the Planet of the Apes saw a stirring sight in theaters this weekend: the trailer for The Shape of Water, another fantastical tale from director Guillermo del Toro. The first footage has since landed online to unpack more of this dreamy fairy tale set during the Cold War.

The Shape of Water stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a mute woman living a lonely life as a cleaning lady for a remote high-security government laboratory where a classified experiment is being conducted. That experiment is on a humanoid marine creature, reminiscent in appearance to Abe from del Toro’s Hellboy movies. In fact, Doug Jones, the actor behind Abe, also portrays this fish man. Forming a connection with the creature, Elisa must act when she learns of plans to dissect him.

Also starring Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg, the footage evokes the other-wordly visuals of del Toro’s period stories, like Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak.

Artist James Jean, who designed the poster for The Shape of Water, revealed how the one-sheet art came together through progression photos on social media.

“It’s not a sci-fi [film], it’s not a genre film, but I am a creature in it,” Jones explained to Collider in a previous interview. “I’m a fish man that’s kind of a one-off. I’m an enigma, nobody knows where I came from; I’m the last of my species so I’m like a natural anomaly, and I’m being studied and tested in a U.S. government facility in 1963, so the Russian Cold War is on, the race for space is on, so there’s all that backdrop and that undercurrent. I’m being tested for how can they use me for advantages in military or space travel, or my technology — can we make this usable for humans? So they’re trying to keep me a secret from the Russians.”

The Shape of Water will be released in theaters on Dec. 8. Watch the trailer above.

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release date
  • 12/01/17
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