Yesterday HE reader Dean Treadway asked me to reevaluate an 8.18.17 comparison piece, posted by Award Watch‘s Erik Anderson, between Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water and Marc S. Nollkaemper‘s The Space Between Us, a 13-minute, English-language short that appeared on 6.29.15.
The basic scheme of both films (erotic sparks fly when a clean-up woman at a research center encounters an aquaman who’s being kept inside a large tank) are obviously similar. The Shape of Water was shot between August and November 2016.
I never suspected for a nano-second that Guillermo would crib from another filmmaker, but I nonetheless asked him about this last night, and we spoke a little while ago today. He was in a rush so I took some hasty notes.
Guillermo said that he and Daniel Kraus (co-author of a forthcoming 2018 book version of The Shape of Water) began work on a The Shape of Water treatment after meeting on 12.17.11. GDT began to develop a script the following year; he also “memorialized” his partnership with Kraus in ’12.
He said that a Fox Searchlight rep would be able to forward docs that would validate this timeline.
Guillermo added that he watched The Space Between Us for the first time this morning.
GDT’s final remark: “What is funny is that I have two movies, Hellboy (’04) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (’08), with an aquatic creature inside a super-secret tank in a large laboratory….so that [general concept] is not exactly in the province of exclusivity.” He’s referring, of course, to Abe Sapien, an aquatic fellow who actually encounters a love interest in the second Hellboy film. According to the Wiki page, “Abe’s love life is something that’s never been tapped into before…like a 13-year-old with his first crush.”
This Brockrin video essay, posted on 7.19.17, explores similarities between Abe Sapien and the Shape of Water aquaman, both played by Doug Jones.