MADRID – Mexican director Guillermo del Toro has told EFE in an interview released on Wednesday that he wanted to show in his Oscar-nominated movie “The Shape of Water” that love has no shape, no gender and no religion, and breaks all boundaries to adopt the form of its container in the same way that water does.
In the movie, Del Toro used a monster as a symbol of love and to mirror the racism, sexism and classism that dominated the United States in the 1960s, where the story is set.
“We have not made much progress and the idea was just that. We live in a time where politicians say everything that makes us different, that separates us, that doesn’t unite us, and I was interested in showing the power of love,” he said.
British actress Sally Hawkins plays the lead role as Eliza, a mute cleaner who works in a US government laboratory, where she meets and falls in love with a marine creature.
The director explained that the “monster” was not a negative character in the film, but was rather part of nature.
“The idea for me is that within the monstrous is beauty and within the normal is the monstrous,” Del Toro said, something that he has explored in other movies including “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Hellboy” and “Cronos.”
Del Toro’s work is full of monsters and creatures that show off his imagination and skill for mixing genres and “The Shape of Water” is no exception, as it combines his love of monsters with fairy tales and the horror aesthetic.
With “The Shape of Water,” he sought to “combine what could not be combined: thriller, musical, romance, movie about tolerance, and monsters, all in one.”
“The film’s humanity is what interests me in the end, but aesthetically the whole move, the center of the movie is the monster,” he said. “And for that reason, we had to create a whole universe in which the monster could breathe.”
Del Toro said he wrote the film for Hawkins as she is an actress who reacts to emotions and listens and watches: “she has a fantastic look.”
This was exactly what he was trying to achieve in “The Shape of Water”: a woman and a monster gazing at each other in scenes filled with emotion.
The movie, which will be shown in movie theaters in Spain from Friday, claimed two Golden Globes last month and was leading the Academy Award nominations with 13 nods.