Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a dark fantasy movie with a beautiful love story at its core between Sally Hawkins’ (Godzilla) mute heroine Elisa and chameleon actor extraordinaire Doug Jones’ (Hellboy, Star Trek: Discovery) aquatic creature, referred to as "The Asset." But that's not all, because the movie also features the strong friendship between Elisa and Zelda Fuller, played by the wonderful Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures).
As some of you know, playing friends in a movie (or TV series) can be quite the challenge when the two actors don't get along or don’t care for one another (looking at you, The Good Wife), but fortunately that wasn't the case for Hawkins and Spencer, who basically hit it off from the moment they met.
Hawkins and Spencer sat down with Tara Bennett from SYFY WIRE to discuss playing friends on screen and what was the most difficult thing they had to do for del Toro's film.
"I'm a dyslexic," Spencer told us. "And so for me, I learn by listening to other people's lines, by having that cue. And in my scenes with Sally, I didn't have any cues [because Elisa is a mute], so it was really difficult. So that was my … and you have to learn doing things, 'cause my character is constantly working; all of our scenes take place at work. So that was my mountain."
"It was technical," Hawkins added. "It's like a dance. And it's like a dance throughout. Elisa has different dances with different people. And then, so that chemistry being there, it's just joy and the fact that it's naturally there. But yeah, technically, it is hard, and I always do stuff with it — a dyslexia — so, you know, it was kind of learning rhythm in your body is how it helps me."
The Golden Globe-winning actress also touched upon the character of Elisa herself, saying: "She is a creature, and [...] a sort of slightly ethereal being; she knows it, really, until she recognizes something with the something he is in that tank, and then her heart explodes and her world expands beyond what she ever thought was possible or even knew was there."
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.