VENICE, Italy - Director Guillermo del Toro was in top form Thursday at the Venice press conference for his well-received Cold War-era fairy tale “The Shape of Water,” in which a mute cleaning lady named Elisa played by Sally Hawkins becomes wrapped up with a gilled primordial Amazonian water creature. And yes, the characters have sex.
A lifelong devotee of the gothic horror genre, the Mexican writer-director-producer-novelist has established himself as a bankable A-lister with a loyal following of fanboys Since bursting onto the scene and winning the Critic’s Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival for his first feature, “Cronos,” he has moved back and forth easily between independent Spanish-language films that tap into the horror and fairy tale genres and increasingly more mainstream big-budget studio productions, with credits that include the acclaimed “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Mimic,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” “Pacific Rim” and the “Hellboy” and “Blade” franchises.
A prolific producer, his diverse projects include “Biutiful,” “The Orphanage,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Julai’s Eyes” and “Puss in Boots.” He was hired by Peter Jackson to direct “The Hobbit,” and while Jackson ultimately took over helming the entire franchise due to extended production delays, del Toro is credited as co-writer on two of the series. He created the TV series “The Strain” based on the first of three vampire novels he co-wrote with Chuck Hogan, and is releasing his fantasy “The Shape of Water” in 2017.