Guillermo del Toro Discusses His "Retelling of 'Beauty and the Beast'" at 'Shape of Water' Premiere

Stars Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon celebrated their new del Toro fantasy romance in Beverly Hills.
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Guillermo del Toro

There’s a new heartthrob in town — and he doesn’t even have a name.

He is the non-human lead in The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s new fantasy romance about a mute cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins) at a government research center in 1962 who unexpectedly finds love with a sea creature (Doug Jones) discovered in South America.

The Shape of Water has often been described as a fairy tale ever since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival to thunderous applause and accolades. “In many ways, it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast,” del Toro said Wednesday night at the film’s premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.

As for the star monster? “It’s a beautiful, sexy sea creature,” Hawkins told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s beautifully designed and it was important to Guillermo that he had the body of a swimmer and was strong. It’s stunning.”

But in Shape of Water, the beast doesn’t transform into Prince Charming.

“The beauty of this movie is that love is about acceptance and understanding and you don’t have to change,” said del Toro, who also explained that it took about three years to come up with the creature’s final design.

Producer J. Miles Dale admits he didn’t know what to think when del Toro first told him the premise of the film.

“I looked around and was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out because I figured I was being punked,” he said. “Then I realized it’s the perfect little fairy tale. Guillermo sees creatures and the people without voices as the heroes. The big white straight males are the monsters.”

And what better place to have a premiere party for a film about a sea creature than Ocean Prime, a Beverly Hills seafood restaurant that featured a shrimp cocktail station and Chilean sea bass in a champagne and truffle sauce. Desserts included bite-size key lime pies and butter cake in honor of two of the many sweets that pop up in the movie.

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