Published On: Fri, Feb 23rd, 2018

Guillermo del Toro in the storm: “Is the shape of water” a plagiarism?

The Mexican director, producer Daniel Kraus and the study Searchlight have been accused by the son of a writer (who died in 2002) of having copied the plot of the film favored by the Oscars, from a story of his father

A week after the long-awaited Oscar night (March 4) “La forma dell’acqua”, the film by Guillermo del Toro , nominated for 13 awards, is shaking under the accusation of plagiarism. David Zindel, son of   Paul Zindel,  writer and playwright, Pulitzer winner, died in 2003, accused the director of having copied a story written by his father in 1969. He also asked that future projections be blocked and that he be recognized a part of the revenues.

According to the lawsuit, launched in Los Angeles on February 21 for copyright infringement, Guillermo del Toro, producer Daniel Kraus and the study Searchlightwould have “shamelessly copied the story, the elements and the characters” of the work of Paul Zindel, “Let me hear your Whisper “. According to the American media, the son would have mentioned more than 60 similarities between ‘The water shape’ and the story written by his father in 1969. Also in “Let me hear your Whisper”the protagonist is an attendant of a military scientific laboratory, where experiments are carried out on marine creatures. In both stories the cleaning lady “falls in love” with one of these creatures, shares lunch with her and tries to save her life. However, Zindel’s accusation would be more on Daniel Kraus, writer and associate producer of the film, than on Guillermo del Toro , who has repeatedly stated that he recognizes in Kraus “the main creator” of the story behind “The shape of water”. 

According to Zindel, Kraus, who says he had the idea more or less in 1990, when he was 15 years old and then shooting it talking to del Toro, may have seen in those years one of the films taken from the story of David Zindel and get inspired.

Allegations “without foundation”, replies the film production company, which also states that Zindel may have staged everything, right next to the award ceremony, aiming for a plea bargain to avoid compromising the film’s victory. Del Toro on the other hand has never hidden the sources of his inspirations and has repeatedly stated that there are many films released on laboratory animals: “they are not interchangeable or equivalent ideas”, he said and de “The shape of water “ He added: “It’s so many things, so many colors, it’s not about an animal, it’s about a deity …”.

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