The trailers for Guillermo del Toro‘s fantasy romance drama “The Shape of Water” show off a beautifully lush color palette for its fantasy romance tale of a mute woman falling in love with a fish man.
At one time though, much like George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the richly saturated film was going to be black and white. Production designer Paul Austerberry reveals to EW that the film’s original pitch was in monochrome, but it changed due to the budget:
“When it was in black and white, the budget was $12 million… and then Fox Searchlight said, ‘You know, if you make it color, we’ll make it $19.6 million.’ We were struggling at even $19.6 million to get it all down, so thankfully it went that way.
I was a bit nervous about the black and white, because color is such a strong element that you can play with in a story or movie to help shape the mood. When people see the movie, they comment a lot on the color, so I’m glad we went that way.”
Don’t expect a black and white version on home video though as del Toro reveals in the piece his original black and white pitch was a strategic move and something he never really intended to do:
“To be disarmingly and horribly honest, it was a pawn sacrifice. It was one of those things that I knew I was not really interested in, but I knew I needed to appear reasonable. ‘Oh, Guillermo. He’s such a nice guy. He gave up black and white.'”
“The Shape of Water” arrives in cinemas in New York today ahead of a wider release in coming weeks.