THE SHAPE OF WATER ”? WATCH THE SHAPE OF WATER

How Del Toro and his team created a thắm thiết world shaped by water, color and movies that was the perfect container for an amphibian love sầu story.


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“The Shape of Water”


Fox Searchlight

The color green also played an important role in the film, as it represented an unwelcoming, unthắm thiết future as seen in the lab, cars and Jello gelatin. In designing the creature, del Toro wanted it khổng lồ have sầu every color of the film except green; like Elisa, he represented the past. This green world of the lab presented a challenge for Sequoira and production designer Paul D. Austerberry (who based his design of the lab on the Brutamenu concrete style prevalent in ’60s institutional architecture); this alienating setting would also be where Eliza và the creature first meet and fall in love sầu.

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“I wanted the lab khổng lồ contrast with this very lãng mạn space where their love blossoms ,” said Austerberry. “For the tank room , it could have sầu been sterile. But we decided lớn go with this industrial, rusty, steamy environment.”

Sequoira complemented the wet & (literally) steamy mix by ensuring that Elisa and her co-workers’ cleaning uniforms fit the lab palette while also popping against the colors of the creature. The costumer tested numerous subtle variations in the uniform fabric –— warmer, dimmer, brighter — against Lausten’s lighting và Austerberry’s sets lớn make sure he found just the right combination lớn bring the lovers together.

Elisa’s Fairytale


Fox Searchlight

Although Elisa doesn’t fit inlớn the military lab & future-leaning world she inhabits, it was important for del Toro that his mute heroine wasn’t seen as a miserable. “This is not a character that is lonely,” said del Toro. “I want her lớn have sầu a modest but very nice life — a neighbor who loves her , a good friend at work . When you introduce a character, where he or she lives, you are telling the audience what their life is.”

According lớn Austerberry, del Toro wrote “Shape of Water” knowing that Toronto’s Massey Hall would be the basis of Elisa’s home page. In love sầu with the building’s 1890s doorways and staircases, del Toro reimagined the old music hall as having been converted into lớn movie theater in the 1920s — a conversion he also imagined turning a large office space above the theater inlớn Giles (Jenkins) & Elisa’s apartments. Del Toro filled his và co-writer Vanesa Taylor’s script with little details about Elisa’s home page, like the light coming through the floorboards emanating from the theater below, which served as the starting point for Austerberry to kiến thiết her magical world.

“The fact that Elisa lives above sầu a theater và all day long & all night long there’s light, và voices & music from the movies below, tells you how she thinks,” said del Toro.


Kerry Hayes

Austerberry designed the apartment as if little had been altered since the 1920s conversion, rooting the character in a different era. “Elisa watched a lot of these old movies, so in my process I thought of her as the first vintage clothes collector,” said Sequeira. “She lived in this fairytale of her own, which for me meant finding really interesting pieces, whether it was a cuff liên kết or tie bar. It was all about trying to find interesting textures and details, lượt thích taking a piece of cloth I’d find & turn it into lớn a Peter Pan cuffed blouse.”


Del Toro also brought in thiết kế details from old movies he loved. For example, he wanted khổng lồ reference the beautiful arch window for 1948 film “The Red Shoes.” This film reference made Austerberry imagine a once-grand room that might have sầu been above sầu the music hall, before being split into the two apartments where Giles & Elisa now lived. Del Toro loved this idea of how his two main human characters were two sides of one coin, as they nói qua a single window between their two apartments.

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“That window being split in half, they were somehow incomplete, but together they were a team,” said Austerberry. “It was a very lãng mạn notion that if the apartments were joined bachồng together, that window would be made whole.”

Shaped By Water


As with its aqua color color schemes, Elisa’s apartment would also need to lớn be designed as a wet, welcoming world for the creature once she snuchồng hyên ổn out of the lab. Del Toro và Austerberry gave sầu themselves a backstory:There was once a fire & the damage khổng lồ Elisa’s apartment was left untouched, while Giles’ apartment was renovated.

“The idea was that everything stayed as it was & aged so that the walls are decrepit,” said Austerberry. “There were all these leaks, dripping water everywhere. That room was actually shaped by water.”

The water shaping was emphasized by designing the room so it never appeared to lớn have sầu straight lines or right angles. Even Elisa’s one nice piece of furniture was a voluptuous, curve-shaped couch. The production designer built on the theme with handmade fish-scale wallpaper from the era, while his scenic artist painted a wall using colored plaster lớn look like the famous Japanese woodbloông chồng print “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.”

“When figuring out the light from the movie theater below, I showed Guillermo how a lot of the old subfloors had these big gaps & that’s why you get that buckled floor from water damage,” said Austerberry. “Those gaps would allow us to have the light emanating from theater below so it looked like rippling water.”


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When the creature comes to Elisa’s trang chủ, Austerberry would also need khổng lồ trương mục for actual water. For the opening scene, in which the apartment was completely submerged in water, budgetary demands required the use of dry-for-wet techniques in which no water is actually used. All mix dressing and actors would be suspended using wire — as if floating in water — và the room was filled with vapor atmosphere & caustic lighting, while large fans combined with slow-motion cinematography simulated the feel of objects moving in water.

Real water would also be used at times, especially in the bathroom where the creature lived in the bathtub. On the last day of shooting, the bathroom phối would be submerged in a water tank for a key scene. Austerberry designed the sets using aluminum flats and epoxy paints, while his team constantly tested their materials, soaking them for days khổng lồ ensure they wouldn’t dissolve or come apart in water.


Yet the biggest source of the film’s water-lượt thích flow was his director’s constantly moving camera. “I wanted to lớn shoot lượt thích a musical, where the camera is fluid like water and the camera is roaming all the time,” said del Toro. “Not a single standing shot in the entire movie. I tried to do it in a classical way, lượt thích a Minnelli musical — dollies and cranes, rather than steadicams –— so that if you met a character, it felt lượt thích they break inkhổng lồ a tuy nhiên.”

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This Article is related to: Awards & tagged Costume Design, Guillermo del Toro, Production Design, The Shape of Water, Toolkit, Top of the Line