If you've seen Jones and Del Toro's The Shape of Water, which won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director (among others), you know the answer to that question. (It's "No.") Instead, the sex scene between a mysterious fish-man of unknown origins (Jones) and Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute cleaning woman for a government testing facility, is one of the most tender, romantic, and surreal movie moments of the year. Del Toro's films have always combined the bizarre and the fantastic with the historical and the nitty-gritty details of life, so it only makes sense that his fish-man love story, which plays out in 1962 Baltimore against the anxieties of the Cold War, would include some sex. But it's hard to imagine anyone thought it would be this sexy.
"We did all the non-verbal things people do to fall in love," said Jones when asked about the film's slow-build approach. "That's all been building up to this unsupervised time together, so of course it's a love that can be consummated finally, which was new and different for me. [Del Toro] kept stressing to me, 'You're the romantic leading male of this movie.' And I kept thinking, 'In a fish suit?'"
Yes. In a fish suit. But not just any fish suit: The actual costume, which was built by the studio Legacy Effects, has a muscular, toned quality to it that helps sell the idea of the fish creature as a potential pin-up. (The movie feels destined to inspire some wild fan art.) In their early conversations, del Toro told Jones that he wanted the fish-man to be "regal" and that it should resemble his performance as the Silver Surfer in 2007's super-hero adventure Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. He also wanted a little bit of "matador" sprinkled in.
"With them, there's an athleticism that's graceful and really beautiful to watch," said Jones. "And sexy. Because they kinda lead with the pelvis. They do it fearlessly."