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Why The Hell is Mexican Director Guillermo del Toro Being Labeled a Creative Fraud and Copycat?


This is supposed to be Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar glory year, with his latest cinematic offer Shape of Water leading the Oscar nomination count with thirteen nominations. Del Toro himself is nominated for Best Director for the unlikely love story, set in the 1960s, between a mute janitor and an aquatic creature.

Now come accusations that Del Toro was not only inspired by other films but outright lifted elements from those films. The Guadalajara native directed, produced and wrote the Shape of Water.

French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet has accused Del Toro of plagiarizing work from two of his films Amelie and Delicatessan. Meanwhile the family of playwright Paul Zindel are making similar accusations – claiming the Mexican director lifted part of Shape of Water from the Let Me Hear You Whisper play.

Jeunet in recent interviews accused Del Toro of using elements from his film Amelie for the opening scenes of Shape of Water and that the two-step dance scene is identical to the one found in his other French movie Delicatessan.

This is not the only plagiarism accusation Del Toro has weathered. He has been accused of taking plot elements from the 50-year old play Let Me Hear You Whisper and being highly influenced by the Dutch short film The Space Between Us.

The play like Shape of Water centers on a female janitor that forms an unusual bond with a captive dolphin, whereas Del Toro’s captive is an aquatic-like man. Creators of the Dutch film have publicly stated they do not believe Del Toro plagiarized the plot from The Space Between Us and felt the films “have very different identifies.”

The aquatic creature himself, actor Doug Jones, recently defended Del Toro against critics and said everything Del Toro does is original. The movie’s studio has also defended Del Toro and the originality of Shape of Water.

No one can question the creative genius of Del Toro and the talent that brought us Pan’s Labrinyth and The Devil’s Backbone (we will try to forget Disney’s The Haunted Mansion). There are also the nearly 40 other films and scripts he has created, helped influence, produced and directed.

Del Toro has been honing his craft for over 30-years and he has never faced plagiarism accusations before nor accusations that his creative journey is looking for a shortcut.

Is this simply French Oscar envy?

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HSN Staff Writers

HSN staff writers are a group of enthusiastic and talented creative-types that generate great story lines and write about current events with a distinctively Latino voice always respecting the audience it writes for.

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