‘Shape of Water’ Plagiarism Lawsuit Against Guillermo del Toro Has Been Dismissed

Director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water was a lovely and horny love letter to the filmmaker’s passion for movie monsters. The off-beat genre flick was a hit earning an impressive 12 Oscar nominations leading to wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. Guillermo co-wrote The Shape of Water script with Vanessa Taylor, the pair landing a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

THE SHAPE OF WATER – Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.

Making money, being popular, and becoming a multiple Oscar nominations led to a claim of plagiarism from David Zindel, the son of Let Me Hear You Whisper playwright Paul Zindel. With Zindel suggesting that Guillermo del Toro took from his father’s play for The Shape of Water and filing a copyright lawsuit back in February 2018, just before the Oscars ceremony that saw the film earn four awards. Fox called the claim baseless back in 2018 and there was an update on the upcoming trial.

LET ME HEAR YOU WHISPER – The play revolves around Helen, a recently hired scrub-woman, at the American Biological Association Development for the Advancement of Brain Analysis. During the course of her work, Helen learns the plight of an imprisoned intelligent dolphin that is being harshly studied by scientists.

Yesterday, it was announced via outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter that the lawsuit has been dismissed avoiding a trial that was said to begin in July.

Searchlight Pictures added this comment below on the lawsuit and suggests the two sides have agreed to simply end the dispute.

“David Zindel, the son of Paul Zindel, author of Let Me Hear You Whisper, acknowledges, based on confidential information obtained during the litigation process, that his claims of plagiarism are unfounded. He acknowledges Guillermo del Toro as the true creator of The Shape of Water.  Any similarity between the two works is coincidental.”

The next film from Guillermo del Toro is a remake of the thriller Nightmare Alley that is set to be released on December 3, 2021.


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