Entertainment News

One more plagiarism allegation against ‘The Shape of Water’, this time from Paul Zindel’s estate

The family of the Pulitzer Prize winner has claimed that Guillermo del Toro has filched the story idea from the play ‘Let Me Hear You Whisper’.

Pulitzer-winning playright Paul Zindel’s estate has accused Guillermo del Toro of using the late writer’s work without credit for his Oscar-nominated movie The Shape of Water, The Guardian reported. Zindel’s son David told the newspaper that he believes that del Toro’s drama is derived from his father’s 1969 play Let Me Hear You Whisper.

Zindel’s play chronicles the story of a female janitor in a research laboratory who forms a bond with a dolphin and tries to rescue the creature from captivity. Let Me Hear You Whisper was televised in a 1969 movie directed by Glenn Jordan and written by Zindel.

“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,” Zindel said in an email to The Guardian.

Producer Fox Searchlight denied the plagiarism allegations in a statement on Thursday. “Guillermo del Toro has never read nor seen Mr Zindel’s play in any form. Mr del Toro has had a 25 year career during which he has made 10 feature films and has always been very open about acknowledging his influences,” the statement read. “If the Zindel family has questions about this original work we welcome a conversation with them.”

Co-written by Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water is set in the 1960s and revolves around a mute cleaner (Sally Hawkins) at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured amphibian creature and attempts to rescue it. The film has been nominated for 13 Academy Awards this year, including best picture, best director and best original screenplay.

The Guardian report observes that similarities between the play and the film include the personalities of their female protagonists and their approach to the creatures they befriend. “The two cleaner characters both learn to communicate with the creatures, and both labs are involved in secretive military operations. The protagonists both discover imminent plans to kill the creature, and both labs mention “vivisection”,” the report says. However, the report adds that there are substantial differences in the endings of the play and the movie.

Paul Zindel, who died in 2003, wrote 53 books in his career, most of them aimed at children or teenagers. He won the Pulitzer prize for Drama in 1971 for his play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.

Earlier this month, The Shape of Water was compared to the Dutch short film The Space Between Us, directed by Marc S Nollkaemper. However, Netherlands Film Academy, which had produced the short film, concluded after a special screening that the two films were distinct, made at different times and “not in any conceivable way interlinked or related”.

Play
The Shape of Water.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.

Play

To learn more about life insurance plans available for your family, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.