With director Guillermo del Toro’s fairy tale The Shape of Water opening in select theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with Michael Shannon for an exclusive video interview. He talked about what he looks for in a director, the amazing practical sets and the level of detail, when he realized The Shape of Water would be such a special film, how del Toro provided him with a lot of extra material about his character, the way he likes to work on set and why he doesn’t bring the character he’s playing home with him, and a lot more. In addition, he also talked about getting to work with his 99 Homes director Ramin Bahrani again while making Fahrenheit 451 with Michael B. Jordan and modernizing the classic Ray Bradbury story.
If you haven’t seen any of The Shape of Water trailers, the film was written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor and takes place in 1962 America against the backdrop of the Cold War. The fantastic film stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a lonely and mute cleaning woman who works in a high-security government laboratory, where a new specimen has just arrived: a mysterious Fish Man, played by Doug Jones in full makeup. Matters are complicated when Elisa strikes up a friendly relationship with the Fish Man, only to see Michael Shannon’s terrifying security expert treat the creature like a wild animal, abuse and all. The movie also stars Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
I’ve seen a lot of movies this year and The Shape of Water is one of the best. Strongly recommended. For more on the film you can read Brian Formo’s review.
Check out what Michael Shannon had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.
- With how many projects he’s working on does he ever have the chance to sleep?
- Does he take any time off between projects?
- When did he realize The Shape of Water would turn out so well?
- Talks about walking on the amazing practical sets and the amount of detail.
- Did del Toro give him the full character backstory and share any secrets about his character?
- Did he save the document del Toro gave him?
- Has he ever visited del Toro’s Bleak House?
- How does he like to work and does he ever take the character he’s playing home with him at night or can he leave it all on set?
- Talks about making director Ramin Bahrani’s Fahrenheit 451 with Michael B. Jordan.