Doug Jones is no stranger to the lush, fantastical worlds dreamed up by Guillermo del Toro. Throughout his decorated career, Jones has become something of an expert in the field of creature effects (see: Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), and will soon lend his expertise to Star Trek Discovery.
But CBS’ rebooted series isn’t the only project lining Doug Jones’ 2017 slate – The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical new feature, is also cramming up the pipeline, and while chatting to Collider, the actor shed new light on del Toro’s eccentric Cold War drama. First and foremost, it’s “not a sci-fi film, [nor] is it a genre film,” according to Jones, who elaborated on both his character – a one-off fish man who’s considered the last of his species – and the otherworldly love story that underpins The Shape of Water.
“It’s not a sci-fi [film], it’s not a genre film, but I am a creature in it. I’m a fish man that’s kind of a one-off. I’m an enigma, nobody knows where I came from; I’m the last of my species so I’m like a natural anomaly. And I’m being studied and tested in a U.S. government facility in 1963, so the Russian Cold War is on, the race for space is on, so there’s all that backdrop and that undercurrent. I’m being tested for how can they use me for advantages in military or space travel, or my technology—can we make this usable for humans? So they’re trying to keep me a secret from the Russians.”
Headed up by Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon and Sally Hawkins as a cranky cleaning lady stationed in that government facility, The Shape of Water looks set to continue del Toro’s knack for pushing the envelope. The Mexican filmmaker and writer may have got his big break in the horror genre with The Devil’s Backbone, but over the years we’ve seen del Toro tackle alternate worlds, ghosts, ghouls, and giant, hulking robots in Pacific Rim, so a trip back in time to the height of the Cold War ought to be essential viewing for any fan of the reputable director.
The Shape of Water is being readied for a late 2017 release, and just recently scored a composer: Alexandre Desplat.