Guillermo del Toro on How He Made ‘The Shape of Water’ for Under $20 Million

     December 22, 2017

With director Guillermo del Toro’s fairy tale The Shape of Water now playing in select theaters, I recently sat down with the brilliant filmmaker for an exclusive video interview. He talked about when he knew The Shape of Water would be such a special film, why he set the film in 1962, what he learned from early screenings, how he managed to make the movie for under $20 million dollars, what will be on the Blu-ray, why he refused to do a commentary for the first time, and a lot more. In addition, he talked about some of his new additions at his Bleak House (which is where he houses his incredible collection of props, posters, and movie memorabilia).


Image via Fox Searchlight

If you haven’t seen any of The Shape of Water trailers, the film was written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor and takes place in 1962 America against the backdrop of the Cold War. The fantastic film stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a lonely and mute cleaning woman who works in a high-security government laboratory, where a new specimen has just arrived: a mysterious Fish Man, played by Doug Jones in full makeup. Matters are complicated when Elisa strikes up a friendly relationship with the Fish Man, only to see Michael Shannon’s terrifying security expert treat the creature like a wild animal, abuse and all. The movie also stars Octavia SpencerRichard Jenkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

I’ve seen a lot of movies this year and The Shape of Water is one of the best. Strongly recommended. For more on the film you can read Brian Formo’s review.

Check out what Guillermo del Toro had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.


Image via Fox Searchlight

Guillermo del Toro:

  • What are some of the new additions at his Bleak House?
  • When did he realize The Shape of Water was such a special film?
  • Talks about the audience reaction at the first test screening for the film and what happened at the press screening at the Venice Film Festival.
  • Is it true he was drunk at a party and told Sally Hawkins he was writing a movie for her where she would fall in love with a fish creature?
  • How did he make this movie for under $20 million dollars?
  • How he financed the pre-production of the movie so he could keep everything.
  • What did he learn from early screenings that impacted the finished film?
  • What is he planning on including on the Blu-ray? Will it include deleted scenes?
  • He explains why he won’t do a commentary for the film.
  • Why did he set the film in 1962?

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