Paul Zindel's estate recently accused Fox Searchlight of borrowing The Shape of Water storyline from a 1969 play without permission.
Paul's son, David Zindel, claimed that Guillermo del Toro's latest film has obvious similarities with Let Me Hear You Whisper.
The Similarities In Storyline
The play is centered on a cleaning lady who is working in a laboratory and experimenting on mammals. The lead character, Helen, takes pity on a dolphin that the scientists have scheduled for brain dissection. She eventually decides to rescue the dolphin and sends it back to shore.
The Shape of Water, on the other hand, is about a mute cleaning lady working at a government lab. She establishes a connection with a sea creature that is experimented by scientists. The lead character also decides to save the sea creature from being killed.
"We are shocked that a major studio could make a film so obviously derived from my late father's work without anyone recognizing it and coming to us for the rights," said David.
David also expressed his gratitude to his dad's fans because they were the ones that informed him about the similarities between the two projects. He also said that his team is looking into the issue.
Fans of the playwright wrote about the similarities between The Shape of Water and Let Me Hear You Whisper on actress Rachel Style's website. Some of the glaring parallels include winning the sea creature's trust by sneaking him food, hiding the creature in a laundry cart, and more.
Paul Zindel is a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. His 1969 play Let Me Hear You Whisper was adapted for television on A&E Television's series American Playwrights Theater in 1990.
Guillermo del Toro Opens Up About His New Film
The Shape of Water is nominated for a Best Original Screenplay at this year's Oscars. The film was helmed and co-written by del Toro. His writing partner, Daniel Kraus, also penned the script for the movie. During a previous interview, the acclaimed director said that the romance fantasy film is his most ambitious project yet.
"I think the movie is very beautiful, and it connects emotionally with me. With a bit of luck, people will connect with it," said del Toro.
However, the director also thinks that the film will not sit well with some viewers based on their demographics. The Shape of Water is an "antidote to cynicism," and while some viewers may be moved by it, others will most likely find it coy.