– by Seth McDonald

A lawsuit against the critically acclaimed Guillermo Del Toro film, The Shape of Water, claims the idea for the film was taken from a 1969 Paul Zindel play called Let Me Hear You Whisper.

According to Variety, the lawsuit alleges:

“Despite the glaring similarities between the Play and the obviously derivative Picture, Defendants never bothered to seek or obtain a customary license from Plaintiff of motion picture and ancillary rights to the Play, nor did Defendants credit Zindel on the Picture.”

There are a few similarities between the two works, both feature eccentric janitors, both feature experiments at top-secret military facilities, and both stories feature a creature that is to be saved. In the play the creature is a dolphin, in The Shape of Water, it is a Black Lagoon-type being.

The son of Paul Zindel, David Zindel claims in the lawsuit that the film’s producer, Daniel Kraus, must have got the idea from a 1990 A&E adaptation of his father’s play.

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However, the studio behind the film is not backing down.

In a statement from Fox Searchlight, the studio claims the lawsuit has no merit.

“These claims from Mr. Zindel’s estate are baseless, wholly without merit, and we will be filing a motion to dismiss. Furthermore, the estate’s complaint seems timed to coincide with the Academy Award voting cycle in order to pressure our studio to quickly settle. Instead, we will vigorously defend ourselves and, by extension, this groundbreaking and original film.”

Guillermo Del Toro has delivered some amazing original content, I just can’t see him intentionally ripping off another writer’s work. I will concede the stories are similar, but it would be difficult to make an informed judgment without having seen the adaptation of Zindel’s play, which I have not seen.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Source: Variety