This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water.
This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water.

Oscar nominated film accused of being a rip-off

THE Shape of Water is in hot ... water.

The son of a well-known playwright has filed a civil case claiming the movie, which has been nominated for an incredible 13 Academy Awards, is a rip-off of his dad's 1969 play, Let Me Hear You Whisper.

If you haven't seen it yet, The Shape of Water stars Sally Hawkins as a lonely, mute janitor who works at a top secret research facility and forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity for government research.

The storyline has several similarities to Paul Zindel's Let Me Hear You Whisper which is about a cleaning woman who forms a unique bond with a dolphin that is being used for experiments at a research laboratory.

"We are shocked that a major studio could make a film so obviously derived from my late father's work without anyone recognising it and coming to us for the rights," the playwright's son, David Zindel, told the Guardian.

Guillermo del Toro is the director and co-writer of The Shape of Water.
Guillermo del Toro is the director and co-writer of The Shape of Water. Richard Shotwell

In the civil case, Zindel accuses Fox Searchlight, director Guillermo del Toro and The Shape of Water producer, Daniel Kraus, of copyright infringement, a claim that the movie studio vehemently denies.

"These claims from Mr. Zindel's estate are baseless, wholly without merit, and we will be filing a motion to dismiss," a Fox Searchlight spokesman said.

"Furthermore, the estate's complaint seems timed to coincide with the Academy Award voting cycle in order to pressure our studio to quickly settle. Instead, we will vigorously defend ourselves and, by extension, this groundbreaking and original film."

Fox Searchlight also claimed that Guillermo del Toro has never read or seen Let Me Hear You Whisper.

The Shape of Water is the frontrunner for Best Film at next month's Academy Awards.


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