– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The Shape of Water is looking to be something of a return to form for director Guillermo del Toro. While many folks have enjoyed a lot of his films in recent years, I’ve personally missed the man that brought us the gorgeous and darkly morose Pan’s Labyrinth.

With his latest film, he looks to be revisiting that darker tone that attracted me to him as a filmmaker. Rather than be a more standard widget in today’s film industry, The Shape of Water feels like a deeply personal and unique product.

As was revealed by production designer Paul Austerberry, the film was even more unique originally. In fact, it was going to be a black-and-white flick at one point, but one key element kept that from being: money.

“When it was in black and white, the budget was $12 million. And then Fox Searchlight said, ‘You know, if you make it color, we’ll make it $19.6 million.’ We were struggling at even $19.6 million to get it all down, so thankfully it went that way.”

Of course, there are likely a lot of film fans who will likely lament the addition of color. The use of black-and-white is something that a lot of cinephiles seem to love (for a reason I can’t fathom), and after hearing this, we’re sure there’ll be some group out there calling for a black-and-white version of the movie. But, from the sound of it, it’s turned out for the best, even from a creative standpoint.

Austerberry continued:

“I was a bit nervous about the black and white, because color is such a strong element that you can play with in a story or movie to help shape the mood. When people see the movie, they comment a lot on the color, so I’m glad we went that way.”

We have to say, the colors do look pretty darn gorgeous. While black-and-white could service the film well, I think one of the joys of cinema is actually the use of color, and to lose that in a layered piece like The Shape of Water would be a shame.

What do you think? Do you wish they could have done this movie in black-and-white? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.