During a breakfast at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Guillermo del Toro said something about wanting to downshift out of the super-fantasy, design-heavy, uber-FX realm and focus on smaller-scaled, more character-driven projects. I took that to mean films in the vein of Mama and particularly GDT’s Spanish-speaking roster — The Orphanage, The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, Chronos. Perhaps The Shape of Water, “a magical, other-worldly story set against the backdrop of Cold War America circa 1963,” will be a step in that direction.

Shape began filming today in Toronto. (Which means it’ll still be shooting during the Toronto Film Festival.) Costarring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer. The dp is Dan Laustsen (John Wick: Chapter Two, Crimson Peak, Mimic).

Fear factor: GDT’s co-writer is Vanessa Taylor, whose credits include Game of Thrones and Divergent. This guarantees a fantastical concept. Plus I hated Divergent.

Non-judgmental confession: The Shape of Water title bothers me a bit. As would The Shape of Air. It reminds me of the title of that book written by Paul Giamatti‘s Miles in Sideways — “The Day After Yesterday.” (Virginia Madsen: “Uhm…you mean today?”)