Actor Doug Jones reveals that Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water will go even further with its central romance than fans might be expecting, and features a sex scene between Sally Hawkins’ Eliza and her fish-monster love interest. Guillermo del Toro has been one of the more beloved and well-respected filmmakers working in the entertainment industry for over a decade now, but early reviews for The Shape of Water say that the writer and director has found a way to top even himself with his latest film. Not only had del Toro’s newest offering drummed up some real hype for itself over the past few months, but The Shape of Water has won awards left and right as of late, following some of its more recent early film festival screenings.
The film is, at its most basic, a kind of variation on a traditional Beauty and the Beast story, told through the eyes of del Toro and co-writer Vanessa Taylor, and set in a strict, Cold War-era America. It follows Hawkins’ Eliza – a mute worker in a government facility – as she comes into contact with “The Asset” (played by Jones), a humanoid fish creature who has been captured and is meant to be dissected by the facility’s head scientists. But when Eliza and The Asset form a close, romantic bond with each other, she plots to find a way to try and protect him from his violent intended fate.
It’s a fairytale-like premise that audiences have seen a few times before, but according to Doug Jones himself, del Toro began working on The Shape of Water immediately with the intention of taking its central romance farther than most of its genre predecessors ever have before. While speaking with THR, Jones revealed that del Toro was initially hesitant to tell him about his idea of including a sex scene between Eliza and The Asset in the film:
“He [del Toro] was hesitating when he talked to me, so I asked what were his misgivings. He said, ‘I know you’re a good Catholic boy, I just want to make sure it’s OK with you to play this.’ I asked what could possibly be the problem and he goes, ‘Well, there’s a f**k scene.’ (Laughs.) As only he could say.
When I asked him why this time does it need to involve full-frontal nudity — I mean, we’re going for it! — and he harkened back to the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein and any of the classic monster movies that helped develop his love of monsters. There was always a romantic side to these characters and relationships on film that never got actualized all the way. Guillermo said this time, the monster’s going to actually f**k the girl. (Laughs.) A gentler way to say it is that this is the creature from the wet, black lagoon who actually gets the girl this time.”
While this might feel like a bit of a step into too weird of a territory for any other filmmakers, the decision to have a fish/human sex scene in The Shape of Water fits well into del Toro’s filmography. The writer and director has spent his entire career blending genre conventions and romantic story elements in unique and daring ways, so while this might have been an unexpected direction for the filmmaker to take, it still makes sense based on his previous choices.
It doesn’t hurt either that if the early buzz and acclaim for The Shape of Water are any indication, then it looks like del Toro has managed to pull off this risky sex scene with flying colors. So it should more than please del Toro fans to know that not only has the filmmaker come back with one of his best films to date, but one that still manages to push cinematic boundaries in interesting new directions. Now, all that waits to be seen, is how The Shape of Water and this scene, in particular, is met by a more general audience and by moviegoers who might not be very familiar with del Toro’s previous work.
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