Can a woman and an otherworldly sea creature fall in love? That seems to be what Guillermo del Toro is asking in the first trailer for his new fantasy film, The Shape of Water.
The Cold War-set film, starring Sally Hakwins, Octavia Spencer and Doug Jones, tells the story of Elisa (Hawkins), a lonely and mute government laboratory worker in 1963 America. Elisa and her coworker, Zelda (Spencer), discover an underwater creature -- the laboratory's classified experiment -- and Elisa's isolated life changes as she begins to form a bond with the sea-dweller.
The trailer weaves a modern day fairy tale with a touch of lingering mid-century creature feature. Jones, best known as Abe Sapien in Del Toro's Hellboy and Fauno and Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, plays the mysterious entity Elisa connects with.
Del Toro recently stepped back from the Hellboy movie franchise after directing Hellboy in 2004 and Hellboy: The Golden Army in 2008. Despite that distance, the creature in The Shape of Water bears a striking similarity to one of that franchise's main characters, Abe Sapien. Abe Sapien is a Ichthyo sapien who is discovered in a abandoned lab and recruited to work for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense alongside Hellboy.
In the films, Abe Sapien is known for his love of century eggs. While the creature in the Shape of Water trailer doesn't seem quite as picky, it is interesting to note the similarity. Whether this detail is a simple homage or direct connection to the Hellboy franchise remains to be seen.
Debuting in theaters on December 8, The Shape of Water is a production of Bull Productions directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Lauren Lee Smith, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer.