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‘The Shape of Water’ Was Written and Designed to Jon Brion’s ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ Original Score

Paul Thomas Anderson's radical love story is built into the DNA of Guillermo del Toro's new fantasy romance.

"The Shape of Water"

“The Shape of Water”

The romances of Guillermo del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson have finally collided, somewhat. Del Toro revealed on Twitter that he wrote and designed “The Shape of Water” with Jon Brion’s original score for Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” in mind. “The Shape of Water” script was being developed as early as 2012, and it was Brion’s percussion-heavy work on Anderson’s romance that helped guide del Toro’s emotions. Del Toro said he even temped the film with the “Punch-Drunk Love” score before Alexandre Desplat was brought on to compose the music.

“The Shape of Water” stars Sally Hawkins as a mute janitor who falls in love with an amphibious sea creature who is being tested on in a government facility during the Cold War. Because Hawkins’ character is mute, the film relies heavily on the original score to take viewers into her emotional state. Desplat’s original score is considered a major Oscar contender, and it’s a fun bit of trivia to hear the movie was originally designed with “Punch-Drunk Love” on the brain.

To see how the two works compare, try watching “The Shape of Water” trailer without sound and playing Brion’s “Punch-Drunk” melody instead. The fantastical mood Anderson and Brion managed to evoke in their music was clearly what del Toro wanted to infuse his own fantasy romance with.

Del Toro considers “Punch-Drunk Love” to be Anderson’s greatest film. “The Shape of Water” opens in select theaters December 1.

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