He is possibly the most experienced actor when it comes to making a big, freaky on-screen monster. Having collaborated with director Guillermo del Toro in various gory guises no less than five times, Doug Jones knows how to bring the scares.
But for their latest monster movie, The Shape of Water (which recently bagged a Golden Lion win at the 2017 Venice Film Festival as well as kick-ass reviews), Jones had a different approach to playing a beast. A romantic one.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jones reveals how he and del Toro devised a plan to make their monster “sexy” to fit with the film’s plot of making him a love interest. “A note Guillermo gave me, as far as [the Asset’s] physicality goes, he kept pushing the sexy,” Jones tells THR. “This character has to be sexy. When watching the film you have to believe that someone could actually fall in love with him and find him sexy and want to take their clothes off in his presence.”
According to Jones, that process involved a lot of “sculpting” when it came to making the monster, with the help of a fine artist called Mike Hill who del Toro met at the trade show Monsterpalooza. “Mike Hill was actually on set with us doing the finishing touches on my makeup every day. He developed my colors and my shapes and my silhouette that became this sexy and beautiful creature,” Jones adds.
The movie tells story of a mute janitor named Elisa Esposito (played by British actress Sally Hawkins) who works in a government laboratory and eventually discovers an amphibious creature in a water tank (played by Jones). Out of loneliness, Elisa befriends Jones’ creature, and things, as you’d expect in a water tank, start to get messy.
Jones previously worked with del Toro starring in his movies Mimic (1997), Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II (2008), Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and Crimson Peak (2015).
The Shape of Water is slated for a Dec. 8, 2017, release in the U.S.