The Shape of Water: Actor Believes New ‘Fish Man’ Movie Oscar Worthy

Guillermo del Toro directing Doug Jones as Abe Sapien, Hellboy II (Universal)
Guillermo del Toro directing Doug Jones as Abe Sapien in Hellboy II (Universal)

By Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)

Guillermo del Toro has ditched monster movie sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising in favor of the Pan’s Labyrinth-style awards contender, The Shape of Water.

Character actor Doug Jones, who is a regular fixture in the acclaimed filmmaker’s screen projects, has dished the dirt on the director’s new high-concept project The Shape of Water.

Jones, who played an amphibious humanoid in the del Toro’s two Hellboy films, revealed he will play a ‘fish man’ in the Cold War-set movie, which will be released later this year.

Speaking with Collider, Jones spoke glowingly about the upcoming project.

“It’s a 1963 drama—it’s not a sci-fi [film], it’s not a genre film, but I am a creature in [The Shape of Water]. 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 movie boasts a strong supporting cast including Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg and Octavia Spencer.

Jones added that British actress Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), who came to prominence in Mike Leigh’s films Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky, will play the other half of the film’s central love story.

“Meanwhile, there’s a love story that brews out of [The Shape of Water], and that would be the cleaning lady played by Sally Hawkins. She comes and finds me, has sympathy on me, and then that’s the story that you’re really gonna follow with this whole backdrop.”

Del Toro will still produce Pacific Rim: Uprising despite side-stepping directing duties. Strategically, this seems like a good choice, as the first monster movie divided critics and fans. The Oscar-nominated auteur is looking to bounce back after the disappointment of his last picture, the critically acclaimed horror Crimson Peak, which flopped at the worldwide box office.

And actor Jones reckons The Shape of Water will become an awards contender, much like the director’s classic Pan’s Labyrinth – which was set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War.

“It is artfully and beautifully [made]—if this doesn’t end up with Guillermo back at the Oscars, I will be surprised. I will be very surprised.”

The Shape of Water will hit screens later in 2017, but an exact release date hasn’t been announced.

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