One the 2017’s best, many tender romances is now nominated for number of Oscars. But The shape of Water from billy del Toro isn’t around love in between woman and man; it’s between woman and fish-man. And also when the trailer was an initial released, fans of the Hellboy movie latched on to The shape of Water together a possible prequel for del Toro’s cult favourite adaptations that the Dark equine graphic novels. Doug Jones, that starred in both The shape of Water and Hellboy play fish men, deserve to understand why.

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In The form of Water, Jones play “The Asset,” a half-fish, half-man creature caught in the Amazon wilds. The role bears solid similarities to an additional one of Jones’s ahead roles: Abe Sapien, one more half-man, half-fish who works as an knowledge agent for the top-secret Bureau because that Paranormal Research and also Defense (BPRD). In spite of that both the Asset and also Abe Sapien space bipedal aquatic monsters, Jones speak the the 2 couldn’t be farther apart.

“Those comparisons room inevitable, however they room not correct,” Jones called in a November interview. “I to be told from the very beginning this is not Abe Sapien indigenous Hellboy. This is a completely different character. It’s not a prequel, it’s no a backstory, it’s not an beginning story. The new.”

Jones acknowledges the similarities, yet advises fans and also viewers to look closer — literally. “If you look at the two designs next by side, you’ll check out the differences, in markings, colors, shapes, location of gills. It’s different.”

As one actor, Jones additionally approached play the characters in wildly different ways. “Abe Sapien to be a polished gentleman. Well-spoken, huge vocabulary, could read four books at one time, had a wealth of understanding in science and all type of things, and gestures together a polished gentleman might do.”


But in The shape of Water, the asset “is a raw animal” native the wild. “That’s what Guillermo had actually to drill right into me: You space intelligent, you can learn communication, but this is all brand-new to him.”

The shape of Water was influenced by del Toro’s childhood fantasies from watching the 1930’s monster movie Creature native the black color Lagoon, in i m sorry del Toro wished the monster fell in love with Julie Adams rather of trying come kill and also eat her. “He had a like on Julie Adams, and also he had actually a like on the creature,” says Jones.

It was Creature from the black color Lagoon that informed Jones’s portrayal of the Asset more than Abe. “I often have looked in ~ nature. Ns studied fish once I play Abe Sapien since he was so gesture-y and also I wanted his head to it is in curious choose a goldfish. Because that this, despite I had actually markings and looked favor the biology from the black color Lagoon, ns didn’t desire to be compared necessarily due to the fact that it’s not a prequel. I want him to have actually his own flavor. For this reason in this case, much less was more. If ns was an pet from the wild in captivity and also people were talk to me, how would ns respond?”


Jones grew up in the American midwest “a tall, lanky, out-of-sorts looking gangly kid” that led to a most bullying and pressures come fit in. After ~ 30 years of play monsters and creatures, from Hellboy come Pan’s Labyrinth, native Fantastic Four to The shape of Water and beyond, Jones has found solace morphing into characters that space inhuman.

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“Playing monster on film because that me is a an excellent way to work through my childhood issues, particularly when they’re written with sympathy, with good storylines and relationships to it is in discovered and explored,” Jones muses. “It’s something I can relate to in actual life.”

The shape of Water will be released on DVD and also Blu-ray in March. The 90th Acamedy Awards will take ar on march 4.