Guillermo del Toro’s next original film, The Shape of Water, now has both a firm release date and official synopsis. Although del Toro was originally attached to direct the sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising as the followup to his dark Gothic romance love letter Crimson Peak, the filmmaker wound up moving forward with The Shape of Water instead, after pre-production on the Pacific Rim sequel stalled. Things might have worked out for the best though, as del Toro has already praised Uprising director Steven DeKnight for his take on the kaiju/giant robots franchise that del Toro helped to co-create.

At the same time as DeKnight took the reins on the Pacific Rim sequel, del Toro was able to move forward with an original project of his own: a Cold War-era sci-fi/fantasy tale that he also wrote, known as The Shape of Water. The film stars Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins (Paddington) and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), as well as del Toro’s frequent collaborator and expert monster actor, Doug Jones. Perhaps just as excitingly, The Shape of Water is now officially set to reach theaters later this year.

Fox Searchlight Pictures has confirmed a December 8th, 2017 theatrical release date for The Shape of Water and issued the following synopsis, as part of the announcement:

From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

9 Movie Villain Oscars Doug Jones as the Faun and Pale Man in Pans Labyrinth Guillermo del Toros The Shape of Water Gets a Synopsis & Release Date

Doug Jones as the Faun and Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth

Both del Toro and Jones have already revealed that said “secret classified experiment” in The Shape of Water is, in fact, a fish-man, played by Jones. As mentioned, Jones is an expert in the art of playing monsters and supernatural creatures in del Toro’s movies; having previously played another fish-man, Abe Sapien, in del Toro’s Hellboy movies. Jones also portrayed multiple fantastical beings in the director’s critical darling Pan’s Labyrinth (see the photo above), as well as the various ghostly specters that haunt the decaying halls of the Shape family estate in Crimson Peak.

The Shape of Water – which also costars Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Michael Stuhlbarg (Doctor Strange) and Richard Jenkins (Kong: Skull Island) – seems to have a fair amount in common with Pan’s Labyrinth in particular; including, elements of horror, political commentary through the lens of a historical setting and of course, the fairy tale aspect of the story. Fox Searchlight’s decision to give the movie a December release date also suggests that the studio feels that del Toro’s latest offering has awards season potential; something that ought to come as all the more welcome news, for the director’s own sizable fanbase.

NEXT: Why Pan’s Labyrinth is (Still) Guillermo del Toro’s Best Movie

Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

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