Guillermo del Toro joined The Hollywood Reporter‘s Director Roundtable, alongside Patty Jenkins, Angelina Jolie, Denis Villeneuve, Joe Wright and Greta Gerwig, to discuss why his film The Shape of Water is more relevant now than ever.
“I think that all of us at this table, all the movies that were made were made specifically for now, for one or different reasons because we feel that they were needed now. I feel the urgent, human, political need that you can see the other, and see the beauty and the divine in the other opposed to the fear and the hatred, and it was urgent.”
The film, which has scored seven Golden Globe nominations and two SAG nods, along with lots of Oscar buzz, was heavily personal to del Toro, and he said “that sometimes there are scenes I cannot discuss without weeping.” The director has been nominated for an Oscar with 2007’s Pan’s Labyrinth, but had not previously been recognized by SAG or the Globes.
Despite the critical success of The Shape of Water, del Toro describes a difficult shoot, with “of 65 days, we had 64 really difficult days, and one day was easy.” He went on to tell a story about when star Michael Shannon parked a car and got out of it during a take.
“It stays in drive, the car continues going, Michael runs to try to stop the car, the car drags Michael in the middle of the rain, Michael lets go, the car hits the first post, destroys it – shower of sparks – goes for the second post, is going straight for videos, everyone says run!,” he said. “Now I’ve never run for anything in my life, I don’t know that is, so I was like, ‘I’m going to die.'” The car eventually stopped without destroying the set, and the director said that was just one of the many things that went wrong during filming.
Del Toro, a known Frankenstein fan, also said that if he were stuck on a lifeboat with a DVD player and one film, he would choose 1981 sci-fi film The Road Warrior.
“The Road Warrior for me, it was the first time I noticed now the camera worked and moved, it was a ballet,” he said. “I would probably change my mind halfway through the lifeboat journey and say, ‘Where is Frankenstein?'”
The full Director Roundtable airs on SundanceTV, Sunday, Jan. 21. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year’s top films.