Actor Doug Jones talks how his “The Shape of Water” creature role is inspired by Universal’s “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
“A gentler way to say it is that this is the creature from the wet, black lagoon who actually gets the girl this time.” – Doug Jones.
Back in July, I wrote of my interest in Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming film, The Shape of Water. As a Universal Monsters fan, I felt del Toro’s The Shape of Water was a beautiful homage and love letter to the classic monsters, most especially Creature from the Black Lagoon. While the film opens everywhere on December 8th, it has enjoyed early screenings and went on to win a Golden Lion award at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Iconic actor and frequent Guillermo del Toro collaborator Doug Jones recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his role in the film as del Toro’s “Creature” known only as The Asset and in speaking with THR, he revealed more of how The Shape of Water is inspired by Jack Arnold’s famous Creature from the Black Lagoon.
“In The Shape of Water he has created this fishman mutant, last of his kind, who becomes a sexy love interest. I don’t know anyone else who could’ve pulled that off but him. When I asked him why this time does it need to involved full-frontal nudity, I mean we’re going for it, and he harkened back to the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein and any of the classic monster movies that helped develop his love of monsters. There was always a romantic side to these characters and relationships on film that never got actualized all the way. Guillermo said this time, the monster’s going to actually fuck the girl. [Laughs] A gentler way to say it is that this is the creature from the wet, black lagoon who actually gets the girl this time.”
It’s exciting to know that The Asset in The Shape of Water gets the girl, played by Sally Hawkins, especially considering how many times the Gill-Man was foiled in his three Universal Monster films in the 1950’s. Here at Universal Monsters Universe, we root for the monsters so we’re very happy to hear about Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones’ vision. Jones did go on to say the following:
“The Creature from the Black Lagoon was his favorite of the Universal monsters. He wanted this one to be very different. Abe was a very articulate, well-spoken, intelligent, poised and postured being who gestured with his hands a lot and was very gentile. Guillermo wanted the opposite [for the Asset]. He wanted it very raw and animalistic. What he specifically said to me was that he did not want a Dougie Jones performance, he wants a character. He doesn’t want a physical performance. He wanted something raw and animal and real. This character came out of the wild, it’s not a fantasy being. This is something that was found on Earth and is real and is in front of us in the 1960s. My character doesn’t speak, but he is intelligent enough that I can learn communication. Sally Hawkins character doesn’t speak either, so we connect on a beautiful nonverbal level which is so lovely to explore on film.”
It was apparent from the first poster and trailer released earlier this summer that The Shape of Water was taking inspiration from the Creature from the Black Lagoon. While it isn’t a “Dark Universe” installment or the long awaited Creature reboot many are anxious for, The Shape of Water will unquestionably be a special, magical, and unforgettable time at the movies this December. It’s a monster movie. It also has Michael Shannon.
And, the Creature gets the girl this time!
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)