Guillermo del Toro cleared of plagiarism charges for The Shape of Water


The director, winner of the 2018 Oscars, was accused of being inspired by a play by Paul Zindel.

Guillermo del Toro won his case. “David Zindel, the son of Paul Zindel, who was the author of Let Me Hear Your Whisper, recognizes, from all the information studied during this trial, that his complaint for plagiarism is unfounded “, said a spokesperson for Fox Searchlight, a subsidiary of 20th Century Studios, as reported The Hollywood Reporter. This announcement marks the end of a three-year legal battle.

Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director in 2018, The Shape of Water had been charged with plagiarism by the Pulitzer Prize Paul Zindel, for his play Let Me Hear You Whisper published in 1969. The book also recounted the romantic relationship between a maintenance worker in a scientific laboratory and a sea monster.

Mutual agreement

Guillermo del Toro immediately denied the plagiarism, swearing to the site Deadline never having heard of this work before making his film. “ For me it is a relief to take this case and the facts to court and not to public opinion. », He had then declared.

In July of the same year, a first decision was made by the judge of the California federal court, Percy Anderson. “ While the play and film share the basic premise of a lab worker deciding to free a creature undergoing scientific experiments, this concept is too general to protect. He had decided. Faced with this verdict, Paul Zindel’s son appealed in June 2020. The trial was due to take place next July.

A few weeks before the opening date, the case has therefore just been abandoned. This week, the two sides presented the court with expert testimony analyzing the two works. A new study which finally resulted in a joint agreement. Following this decision, the production made it known that Guillermo del Toro was “The real creator of The Shape of Water and “Any similarities between the two works is a coincidence. “

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