The Shape of Water is a 2018 American romantic fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. It stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. Set in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962, the story follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured humanoid amphibian creature. Filming took place in Ontario, Canada, between August and November 2016.
The film was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where it premiered on August 31, 2017, and was awarded the Golden Lion for best film.It was also screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. It began a limited release in two theaters in New York City on December 1, 2017, before expanding on December 8, 2017, and grossed $195 million worldwide.
- Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaner who works at a secret government laboratory.
- Doug Jones as “Amphibian Man”, an amphibious creature referred to as the “asset”, with whom Elisa forms a close bond.
- Michael Shannon as Richard Strickland, a United States Colonel in charge of the project to study the “asset”.
- Richard Jenkins as Giles, Elisa’s neighbor and close friend who is a struggling advertising illustrator.
- Octavia Spencer as Zelda Fuller, Elisa’s co-worker and friend who serves as her interpreter.
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Robert Hoffstetler / Dimitri Mosenkov, a Soviet spy working as a scientist studying the creature under an alias.
- David Hewlett as Fleming, the laboratory’s head of security.
- Nick Searcy as Frank Hoyt, a United States General who is Strickland’s superior.
- Stewart Arnott as Bernard, Giles’ employer and former lover.
- Nigel Bennett as Mihalkov, Mosenkov’s handler.
- Lauren Lee Smith as Elaine Strickland, Strickland’s wife.
- Martin Roach as Brewster Fuller, Zelda’s husband.
- Allegra Fulton as Yolanda, a cleaning woman at the laboratory.
- John Kapelos as Mr. Arzoumanian, the owner of the cinema who resided below Elisa and Giles’ apartments.
- Morgan Kelly as Pie Guy, a diner employee to whom Giles is attracted.