Best Actress Nominee Sally Hawkins in a Love Affair Beyond Words in “The Shape of Water”

Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, known for his hit feature films “Hellboy” and “Pacific Rim” brings a new world far beyond one’s imagination in “The Shape of Water”.

Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, known for his hit feature films “Hellboy” and “Pacific Rim” brings a new world far beyond one’s imagination in “The Shape of Water”, composed of a stellar cast that includes Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones and Michael Stuhlbarg.

“The Shape of Water” is a fairy tale set in the Cold War era that sees the journey of Elisa (Hawkins), a mute janitress in a highly-secured government facility who connected and fell in love with a marine creature (Jones).  From Elisa’s loneliness and powerlessness, she soon becomes a heroine who takes huge risks, made all the more extraordinary because the role is almost without words.  Rendered mute by a childhood trauma, Elisa communicates in American Sign Language (ASL), but she is able to express herself effusively when she encounters the strange aquatic creature being warehoused in the government lab where she works as a cleaning lady.  Elisa sees none of the creature’s oddities when she sets eyes on the iridescent beauty in chains – to her, he is sheer loneliness and that makes him instantly worthy of her attention. 

Elisa’s rich and brave interior world comes to life via a luminous performance from Academy Award® nominee Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine) that propels the story forward at every turn.  Hawkins knew instantly there has never been and will never be a role quite like Elisa.  “It’s so rare that you get a role that asks you to put it all out there.  Where it’s about unadulterated expression and words are not needed, and you have the freedom to express so much through your eyes, breath and body. That is Elisa.” 

Hawkins was Del Toro’s muse as he was writing. “Elisa is not someone who had a horrible existence until the creature showed up.  She was not leading a glamorous existence by any means but she was content.  I needed someone who evokes that kind of happiness, whose face is able to express every hue without a word. Sally has that kind of unique energy, so that is why I wrote it for her.  Sally is the most genuine, unaffected person and I don’t think she is capable of doing anything that isn’t emotionally real.”

The first read of the script beckoned to Hawkins so powerfully it sparked a few anxieties.  “It was so moving.  It was interestingly familiar to me, yet it was like nothing I’ve encountered.  I felt like Elisa was a deep part of me, or like I knew her in another life.  I also felt it was the ultimate romantic fairy tale.  At first I was convinced that Guillermo had the wrong person for the role,” she confesses.  “It’s the kind of romantic lead I really didn’t ever think I would play, so it’s been a dream gift to me.” 


For Hawkins there was no other means to doing so except to dive in to the deep end with full abandon, navigating Elisa’s blooming courage as well as a florid fantasy life that becomes unexpectedly real – with the most unexpected of partners.  Working with Del Toro helped her to let go completely and submerge herself.  “Being Elisa was an incredibly internal kind of journey, but Guillermo is so inclusive and so values your creativity as well, and that he really helped,” Hawkins explains.  “He has such a powerful vision that whatever your fears are, he just takes them away and says ‘let me worry about that.’” 

Hawkins had a steep learning curve to begin with.  She began taking ASL classes and dance lessons well before rehearsals began.  She also began feeling out the way Elisa moves, her lightness on the earth.  “To me, it seemed she is always floating, always in a kind of dance, so I wanted to get at that sort of otherworldly feeling in her physical being,” she describes. 

“The Shape of Water” opens in cinemas nationwide on February 21 from 20th Century Fox. 

Related Content

Movie Info

The Shape of Water
Fantasy | Romance

Articles

Big Winner at Oscars 2018 "The Shape of Water" Still Showing in Philippine Cinemas
“The Shape of Water”, this year’s biggest winner at the recently concluded 90th Academy Awards that won top awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best in Original Score and Best Production Design.
More Than Just a Fairy Tale, ‘The Shape of Water’ is a Reflection of the World Today
‘The Shape of Water’ is equal parts fantasy and horror, a brilliant interplay between the whimsical world where an amphibious being exists side-by-side with the real horrors that lie within a human being’s heart.
Doug Jones Takes on the Shape of Sexy Male Ampibian in Award-winning "The Shape Of Water"
Doug Jones has made a career out of playing monsters, ghouls and creatures of myth.
An Enthralling Escape to Fantasy in "The Shape of Water" on February 21 Nationwide
“The Shape of Water” brings its audience into a mysterious government facility in Baltimore where, in the deepest recesses of the lab, an amphibious creature (played by Doug Jones) is being studied for its unusual abilities.
An Immerse and Unique Love Story Emerges in "Shape of Water"
The film brings its audience into a mysterious government facility in Baltimore where, in the deepest recesses of the lab, an amphibious creature (played by Doug Jones) is being studied for its unusual abilities.
20th Century Fox's Award-winning Movies in Cinemas this February
20th Century Fox’s / Fox Searchlight’s highly-acclaimed films “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” have already bagged major awards from the 75th Golden Globe Awards and the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards.
WATCH: Guillermo Del Toro Gives Romance Genre a New Form in 'The Shape of Water'
Take a deep breath and plunge deeply into the latest genre-defying romance fantasy movie “The Shape of Water”. Opens February 2018 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
0

Share this story

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Recent Posts