Guillermo del Toro released the first trailer for The Shape of Water on July 19.  As of this writing, it’s only been on YouTube a few hours, yet it’s already trending, with more than 400,000 views.

“If I told you about her, the princess without voice, what would I say?”

“The princess without voice” is Elisa, a mute cleaning woman at a top secret government laboratory.  She is played by award-winning British actress Sally Hawkins.  (Although best known for her work with Woody Allen in Blue Jasmine, Hawkins played Dr. Vivienne Graham in the 2014 remake of Godzilla and will be reprising the role in the 2019 sequel.  Her first movie role was as a villager in The Phantom Menace.)  She and her co-worker, Zelda, accidentally discover a classified experiment.  Zelda is played by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, who was Dorothy Vaughn in Hidden Figures.

The Shape of Water is the brainchild of director/producer/writer Guillermo del Toro.  Del Toro wrote the original story for The Shape of Water, co-wrote the script with Vanessa Taylor,  and is directing and producing the fantasy/adventure film.  He is the brains behind The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak.  The movie is set during the Cold War, in 1963 Baltimore.

Elisa and the Merman from THE SHAPE OF WATER

{image via Fox Searchlight Pictures}

In an interview with Time, del Toro said, “Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don’t wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and anti-establishment.”  This fantasy appears to show what happens when characters move from the first sort of fairy tale to the second.

Doug Jones plays “the most sensitive asset ever to be housed in this facility,” a creature who was “worshipped as a god” by the natives in the Amazon jungle.  Elisa believes the creature is, or should be, more than just a lab experiment. Jones played an amphibian role before, as Abe Sabien in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  The Shape of Water will be the seventh time Jones has worked with del Toro.  He will be also portraying Lt. Saru in Star Trek: Discoverywhich will be debuting September 24, 2017.

The Shape of Water is due to be released December 8, 2017.

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