The Shape of Water's Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg on lime candy and rainy Toronto nights

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Mar 27, 2021, 1:00 AM EDT (Updated)

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water began its run in theaters on Friday, hailed as one of the prolific filmmaker's most intriguing projects in years. Ahead of its wide release, this fairy tale monster romance made splashy headlines after it took home Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Ahead of its release, SYFY WIRE sat down with stars Michael Shannon (Colonel Richard Strickland) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Robert Hoffstetler), who are intense rivals on screen, but seemingly good pals off it. Along with the freezing rain outdoor shoots in Toronto, they both faced serious obstacles in delivering their lines: Stuhlbarg had to learn to speak Russian, while Shannon had to contend with... lime candies.

"I don't know any foreign languages," admits Stuhlbarg. "I studied Russian a little bit in college and some French as well. I've always longed to get to that place where you know something, a different kind of language, where you can actually think differently. Or that people say that they think and dream in another language."

"He (del Toro) talked about the candy a lot," recalls Shannon. "I'd say 90 percent of our conversations were about the candy. Because I kept trying to put more candy in. Is this a candy scene or a non-candy scene? It was in the script but it wasn't as much."

Will you take the plunge and go check out del Toro's new Cold War-era creature feature when it floods movie houses this holiday season?

Additional material by Jeff Spry.