One the 2017’s best, most tender romances is currently nominated for several Oscars. Yet The shape of Water from billy del Toro isn’t about love in between woman and also man; it’s in between woman and also fish-man. And when the trailer was very first released, fans of the Hellboy movie latched on to The shape of Water as a feasible prequel because that del Toro’s cult favorite adaptations the the Dark steed graphic novels. Doug Jones, that starred in both The shape of Water and Hellboy playing fish men, have the right to understand why.

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In The form of Water, Jones play “The Asset,” a half-fish, half-man creature captured in the Amazon wilds. The role bears solid similarities to another one that Jones’s ahead roles: Abe Sapien, another half-man, half-fish that works as an intelligence agent because that the top-secret Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). In spite of that both the Asset and Abe Sapien space bipedal aquatic monsters, Jones tells the the 2 couldn’t be farther apart.

“Those comparisons are inevitable, but they are not correct,” Jones called in a November interview. “I was told native the really beginning this is not Abe Sapien indigenous Hellboy. This is a totally different character. It’s not a prequel, it’s no a backstory, it’s not an beginning story. That new.”

Jones acknowledges the similarities, yet advises fans and also viewers to look closer — literally. “If friend look at the 2 designs side by side, you’ll check out the differences, in markings, colors, shapes, placement of gills. The different.”

As an actor, Jones additionally approached play the personalities in wildly different ways. “Abe Sapien to be a polished gentleman. Well-spoken, huge vocabulary, might read four publications at one time, had a wealth of knowledge in science and all kinds of things, and also gestures as a polished gentleman might do.”


But in The shape of Water, the asset “is a life animal” from the wild. “That’s what Guillermo had to drill right into me: You are intelligent, you can learn communication, but this is all new to him.”

The form of Water was inspired by del Toro’s childhood fantasies native watching the 1930’s monster movie Creature native the black Lagoon, in i m sorry del Toro wished the monster dropped in love v Julie Adams instead of trying to kill and eat her. “He had a crush on Julie Adams, and also he had a to like on the creature,” claims Jones.

It to be Creature native the black color Lagoon that informed Jones’s portrayal the the Asset more than Abe. “I frequently have looked in ~ nature. I studied fish when I play Abe Sapien because he was so gesture-y and also I wanted his head to be curious favor a goldfish. Because that this, though I had markings and also looked prefer the biology from the black color Lagoon, ns didn’t desire to be contrasted necessarily since it’s not a prequel. I want him to have his own flavor. So in this case, much less was more. If i was an pet from the wild in captivity and also people were talk to me, just how would ns respond?”


Jones thrived up in the American midwest “a tall, lanky, out-of-sorts feather gangly kid” that brought about a the majority of bullying and pressures to fit in. After ~ 30 year of playing monsters and also creatures, native Hellboy to Pan’s Labyrinth, from Fantastic Four to The form of Water and also beyond, Jones has discovered solace morphing into personalities that room inhuman.

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“Playing monsters on film because that me is a good way to work through mine childhood issues, particularly when castle written through sympathy, with an excellent storylines and also relationships to be discovered and explored,” Jones muses. “It’s miscellaneous I deserve to relate come in actual life.”

The shape of Water will certainly be released on DVD and also Blu-ray in March. The 90th Acamedy Awards will certainly take location on march 4.