‘The Shape of Water’, a movie that is currently Hollywood’s darling, tells the tale of a woman who falls in love with a fishman, fish creature..fish person, whatever. According to The Wrap, the deceased playwright Paul Zindel’s son is accusing the writer and director of the film, Guillermo del Toro, of copyright infringement, or in other words, theft. The suit claims that “The Shape of Water” infringes on Zindel’s play “Let Me Hear You Whisper”, which was done in 1969.
The plays synopsis:
“tells the story of a lonely janitorial cleaning woman who works the graveyard shift at a scientific laboratory facility that performs animal experiments for military use. There she becomes fascinated by a fantastic intelligent aquatic creature, held captive in a glass tank. To the sounds of romantic vintage music playing on a record player, she forms a deep, loving bond with the creature, discovering that it can communicate — but chooses to do so only with her. When she learns that the authorities plan to kill the creature, in the name of scientific progress, she hatches a plan to liberate the creature in a rolling laundry cart and release it at a dock that feeds into the ocean, where it will finally be free.”
Oh dear oh dear…that does not sound good for the legal team.
This wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Guillermo del Toro’s quality of work has been more miss than hit for over a decade. Seriously, the last thing he did that I really enjoyed was Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and I think he’s been coasting on fumes ever since. Evidently the idea of the story for ‘The Shape of Water’ was pitched to him by producer Daniel Kraus, who apparently was a big fan of Zindel’s work. So either Del Toro didn’t bother asking if this was an original idea…or he didn’t care. Ordinarily, I’d lend credence to the idea that when anything becomes a big hit claims of plagiarism inevitably follow…but that play’s description is virtually point for point what happened in the film. How many people come up with storylines about a cleaning woman boning a man-fish?
More importantly, how many would want to? I thought the movie was crap. I recommend the movie Cold Skin (2017) with Ray Stevenson if you need some human on fish-creature action.