Oscar Favourite The Shape of Water Accused Of Plagiarism

Shape of Water Lawsuit Alleges the Film Plagiarized 1969 Play

Shape of Water Lawsuit Alleges the Film Plagiarized 1969 Play

A previous claim that del Toro's latest movie stole ideas from a 2015 student film came and went in January.

News of the lawsuit comes just days before The Academy Awards will air on television, where The Shape of Water is nominated in 13 different categories, including a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Let Me Hear You Whisper, which aired as a TV production almost 50 years ago, is also about a female janitor in a laboratory who bonds with a sea creature whom she attempts to save.

The suit says that "The Shape of Water" lifts from the concept to an actionable degree. The Shape of Water is about a mute cleaning lady (played by Sally Hawkins) who works in a lab, befriends a magical fish-man, and later devises a plot to rescue him.

In interviews, del Toro and Kraus have said that del Toro was interested in making a film in the tradition of "The Creature From the Black Lagoon", but could not find a way into the story. Furthermore, the estate's complaint seems timed to coincide with the Academy Award voting cycle in order to pressure our studio to quickly settle.

In a statement, Fox Searchlight denied that the film was based on Zindel's play, calling the infringement allegations "baseless, wholly without merit" and saying the studio "will be filing a motion to dismiss". In a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the estate of Paul Zindel alleges The Shape of Water "brazenly copies the story, elements, characters, and themes" of a 1969 work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.

"First, my client, [Paul's son David] Zindel, has no pony in the Oscars race, he has no dog in the Oscars race", he said, "and secondly, in a copyright infringement case, the infringing film's profits are the key measure for damages".

"I have never read nor seen the play", Del Toro, who is a favourite to win Best Director at the Oscars on 4 March, told Deadline. "Instead, we will vigorously defend ourselves and, by extension, this groundbreaking and original film". To me, it's actually a relief to take something from the arena of opinion into the arena of fact and law'.

However, in Let Me Hear You Whisper, the creature is a dolphin rather than a half-man, half-river creature. "I have been open about the things I love, and I have had no problem discussing them and how they were transformational in my movies".

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