Logline: A mute woman takes a janitorial job at a secret government laboratory where she becomes emotionally attached to a mysterious amphibious humanoid creature being held there in captivity.
The Writers: The story for The Shape of Water was conceived by GUILLERMO DEL TORO over a 2011 breakfast with novelist Daniel Kraus while discussing his wish to see the monster in 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon hook up with that film’s female lead. When Universal rejected his pitch of a remake with that ending, he and VANESSA TAYLOR wrote this original script instead. Mexican filmmaker del Toro is best known for 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth, which won three Academy Awards and was nominated for another three, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film. Some of his other films include Mimic, Pacific Rim, and both Hellboy movies. He has also produced or executive produced animated favorites The Book of Life, Rise of the Guardians, and Kung Fu Panda 3 as well as the low budget horror hit Mama. Taylor’s work was previously discussed at StoryBoard with her original screenplay for Hope Springs, which starred Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Her other work includes the adaptation of Divergent, seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones, and Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin.
Directed by del Toro, The Shape of Water stars Academy Award nominees Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (The Help), Golden Globe nominee Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man), and featuring Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery) as the creature.
Producers and Production Companies: Del Torro produced the film under his Double Dare You label with J. Miles Dale. Dale and del Toro previously teamed up on Mama and the FX series The Strain. Dale’s previous credits include Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and recent remakes of Endless Love, Carrie, and The Thing. Novelist Daniel Kraus, who helped del Toro brainstorm the initial story idea over breakfast, has an associate producer credit. Kraus and del Toro also co-wrote the novel Trollhunters. Liz Sayre, executive vice president of physical production at Fox Searchlight, has an executive producer credit on the film.
Festivals & Awards: The Shape of Water premiered at the Venice International Film Festival where it won the prestigious Golden Lion and three other awards. It has also played at festivals in Toronto, Telluride, Rio de Janeiro, London, Vienna, Chicago, Tokyo, Napa Valley, and Key West, and was named one of American Film Institute’s top ten films of the year. This morning the film received seven Golden Globe nominations, the most of any film this year, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Previously the film had already racked up 14 nominations from the Critics Choice Awards and 10 from the Satellite Awards, also including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay from both organizations. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has also given the film three awards and the Palm Springs International Film Festival will give it their Vanguard Award on January 2, with more accolades to come on the road to the Oscars.
Release Date: Opened on December 1 in New York and December 8 in Los Angeles (Fox Searchlight). If you plan to see the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.
Rated R. 123 minutes. 116 pages. Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance.
BILL LUNDY will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. A graduate of USC Film School, Bill has written two highly-rated original films for SyFy, Silent Warnings and Alien Siege, sold stories to Star Trek: Voyager, and optioned several sci-fi, fantasy, and horror projects. From 1997 to 2004 he served as Chairman of the non-profit Scriptwriters Network. A top script consultant and teacher known as “The Log Line Doctor,” he’s done seminars for Screenwriting Expo, Sherwood Oaks College, Newport Beach Film Festival, Scriptwriters Showcase, Flash Forward, and The Writers Store and contributed to such books as Q&A: The Working Screenwriter by Jim Vines, and Now Write! Screenwriting, and his essays and liner notes can be found on award-winning DVD special editions for such films as The Matrix, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and Minority Report. Follow Bill on Twitter at @blundysf.