Wondering how director Guillermo del Toro created his acclaimed new film The Shape of Water? Then we suggest you check out the just-published book Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water: Creating a Fairy Tale for Troubled Times, which explores the art and production of the Mexican maestro’s love story about a mute government laboratory-cleaner named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and an amphibious creature from the Amazon (Doug Jones). Written by veteran entertainment journalist (and former EW news director) Gina McIntyre, and boasting a foreword from del Toro himself, the tome features interviews with key actors and members of the creative team, and showcases the amazing concept art and design work created specifically for the film.
Exclusively check out a selection of pages from Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water: Creating a Fairy Tale for Troubled Times, below.
The role brought with it a host of challenges. Among other things, Hawkins was called upon to learn American Sign Language (ASL), her primary means of communicating. She worked with a coach who as familiar with the version of ASL that was used in the 1960s, which is very different from modern ASL. Hawkins embraced the largely silent nature of her part. “Her dialogue is so loud, so complex, even though I’m playing a mute,” she says. “She’s at the center of it all, yet she’s this essence of stillness. She just hasn’t found her voice or chooses not to for whatever reason. She doesn’t need to shout to make herself heard and seen.”
Building Elisa’s apartment
“Her apartment has holes in the ceiling, big water stains; when it rains, it rains inside,” Shape of Water production designer Paul D. Austerberry says. “The floorboards have been stripped off, because water has ruined them, leaving subfloor that is quite loosely spaced together. There’s gaps to allow for the theatrical light to come through the [floor] when they’re playing a movie in the movie house below. It’s a little bit like sunlight dancing through the waves, very romantic.”
Creature color tests
Early paint and color options for the creature by concept artist Luca Nemolato
The Shape of Water is in theaters now.