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INTERVIEW - OCTAVIA SPENCER


Did you immediately know who Zelda was? Was there work there in figuring her out? You have the basics. You know that she is in 1962, and what that time is like. Then you have to look at the region; how late did they come into the Civil Rights Movement, all of that. You put that aside. You keep it there, but it's not her narrative. It was interesting because she was on the page, but it's very different to bring a character to life.





What Sally and I found is this genuine love and admiration for each other, and that's who we are to each other as people. That translates into the scene work. We had this amazing chemistry. It's so funny, though, to do it and then to come out of it and then to see it, and to see her chemistry with Richard and to see her chemistry with the creature or Doug. That just tells you just how charismatic and how open she was. Because she’s painfully shy in real life. You have to get to know a person to really allow them in for that genuine love to shine through, and that is what happened. So Zelda was on the page, but we were able to add other aspects and layers to her that you just can’t get from the page.


He’s a very special, very unique person. He creates


There’s something deeply non-cynical about the film, but it’s also not naïve about the world. How do you think Guillermo strikes that balance? He’s a very special, very unique person. He creates these characters who are complex and simple at the same time. They’re truthful. They’re not naïve, because he’s not. It’s a testament to who he is as a filmmaker, and also who he surrounds himself with. Guillermo also filmed in Toronto, away from Hollywood, and I think you tend not to get jaded if you’re not in the place where the glass gets cut. You tend to stay down to earth if you surround yourself with people who are also of that ilk. It’s not surprising to me that he isn’t cynical. It’s not surprising to me that he’s able to retain that in spite of being in the most cynical industry.


He knows what he wants on set. How was the experience from an actor’s point of view? It's demanding. He has a level; a standard that he sets. It's wonderful to have a person who commands respect, but doesn't demand it. He commands excellence. If you are on a Guillermo del Toro set, you have to rise to the occasion. Everybody has to bring their A-game. I love that he's that focused and he requires the most and best of you. I love that. That's why he's an auteur. That's why when you sit down, you know you're watching a Guillermo del Toro film. You know they're going to be aesthetically beautiful, that there's going to be some creature element to it and some fantastical element to it. Again, I love that he is that focused and requires that of us. I love it.


The Shape of Water in cinemas 14th February Get your copy of the February Issue to read the full Interview


these characters who are complex and simple at the same time. They’re truthful. ."


The Shape of Water in cinemas 14th February


❞ / 13


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