THE SHAPE OF WATER
About The Production
THE SEDUCTION OF MONSTER MOVIES
Mixing many genres from lush musicals to suspenseful noir, THE SHAPE OF WATER
and reinvigorates the enduring allure of the monster movie playing upon our most
primal emotions of fear,
abandonment and danger but also curiosity, awe and desire.
Like many, del Toro grew up with the dark enchantment of the classic Universal
Studios monsters: the Wolf
Man who turned feral against his will, the naive Frankenstein chased by angry
townsfolk, the seductive Dracula driven
by his unholy appetites, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, an amphibious
prehistoric creature who emerged
from the sea longing for a companion.
There was something evocative and deeply, strangely relatable about these
monsters. They were persecuted
by pitchfork-bearing crowds because they were different and forced to skulk
alone on the edges of society in remote
castles, woods or rivers. All were trapped in a transitional state - part human,
part other - which anyone who has felt
ostracized can identify with. Perhaps most intriguingly, they were sensual
beings, powerless to the unending needs
of their bodies and minds.
Of all the iconic monsters, the most heartbreaking of all was the piscine
amphibious humanoid from
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954). Directed by Jack Arnold and starring Ben
Chapman (on land)
and Ricou Browning (underwater) as the inimitably tragic Gill-Man, the last of
his prehistoric species. At once
dangerous and forlorn, reviled and yearning, the Creature touched audiences even
as it scared them.
THE SHAPE OF WATER was conceived in 2011 when del Toro and Daniel Kraus, the
partner on his children's book series, Trollhunters, met for breakfast one
morning. Kraus mentioned an idea he had
had as a teenager, about a cleaning woman working in a government facility and
secretly befriending an amphibious
man being held captive as a specimen and how she decides to liberate him. Del
Toro loved the idea so much that he
immediately said he wanted it to be his next movie - it seemed the perfect sort
of fairy tale idea he had been
searching for. From that meeting, a deal was made for the pair to collaborate
together on a novel and for del Toro to
write and direct the film. At that point, del Toro was still completing work on
his giant-robot/monster blockbuster
PACIFIC RIM, but in rare quiet moments, also drawing from classic monster films
such as THE CREATURE
FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, he'd spend time writing the script for the more intimate
film that would eventually
be called THE SHAPE OF WATER.
In 2014, del Toro self-financed a group of artists and sculptors using designs
and clay models to pitch the
story from beginning to end to Fox Searchlight. The studio came on board
immediately without any hesitation.
The following spring, Guillermo and Fox Searchlight begin meeting with potential
co-writers to work on the
screenplay with him. They ultimately hired Vanessa Taylor who worked closely
with Guillermo on both plot
structure and character (particularly the multi-layered lead character Elisa).
Del Toro wanted to upend the conceit of monstrosity with a love story that
surrenders fully to making the
creature the lead and the human forces aligned against him the true forces of
sinister darkness. "In a monster movie
of the 50s, Strickland, the square-jawed, good-looking government agent, would
be the hero, and the creature would
be the villain. I wanted to reverse those things."
Del Toro also decided to take his monster movie to a different level: the
sensual. He wanted an earthiness to
counterbalance the fairy tale and to bring it to the edge of a familiar adult
For producer J. Miles Dale, who has collaborated with del Toro for years, del
Toro is one of the few directors
with the skill to create creatures that live and breathe with a fully expressed
humanity we all recognize. "Guillermo
creates creatures uncorrupted by the ways of the human world. We can look at
them as a kind of mirror to what we
might be ideally," says Dale. "This film is not like anything you've seen
before, but it also feels like a del Toro movie.
It's so clearly in his voice, but it's also new and original."
For the story's time period, del Toro purposely chose an American era in which
epic fears held sway: 1962, as
anxiety over nuclear war with the Soviet Union was peaking, and just before the
idealistic, future-focused Camelot of
President Kennedy gave way to disillusion, mounting paranoia and social
upheaval. "There's a lot going on in that
time period," says Dale. "There's the Cold war, the Space Race and the Civil
Rights movement. And it's all the
backdrop for a love story you haven't seen before."
The period is one that is sometimes glorified notes del Toro, without
remembering its injustices and stultifying
dread of human differences. "To me, this is a time when America stopped - it's a
time of racism, of inequality, of
people thinking about the brink of nuclear war. In a few months, Kennedy will be
assassinated. So in a way, it's a
horrible time for love," he comments, "yet love happens."
The futuristic impulses of 60s America play off the primordial creature,
recalling Rilke's words "where
something past comes again as if out of the future." Says del Toro: "What
interested me is that 1962 is a time when
everybody was focused on the future, while the creature is an ancient form of
the deep past. People are obsessed with
what's new, with ad jingles, the moon, modern clothes, TV. And in the meantime
here's this ancient force, a creature
in love, who comes among them."
CASTING THE NET
Each of the roles in THE SHAPE OF WATER was written for a specific actor -- the
very same actors who del
Toro asked to appear in the film. "He was honing the script to their voices,
rather than vice versa," comments Dale,"
which is an exciting thing to be able to do."
Del Toro notes that each of the film's characters, no matter their place in
society, is grappling with love in
different circumstances. "There's a pure love between Elisa and the creature,
but government agent Strickland is also
trying to love, though we experience that his love is brutal, and Elisa's
neighbor Giles is looking for a love frowned
upon in that time, and Elisa's best friend Zelda is in love with a man who does
not deserve her love. Even the General
overseeing the laboratory has a kind of father/son love story with Strickland."
As each was approached, all said yes. "This is a very special film," says Sally
Hawkins. "Taking part in it has
meant so much to me. It's a story that will forever have a piece of my heart."
Says Michael Shannon: "I was drawn to the picture because I felt it could have
hopeful qualities that might
inspire people to be gentler with one another -- that's sorely missing right
now. It's really a story about how it is
worth having love in your life at any cost. Sometimes love requires you to face
your fears, or to make sacrifices, but
at the end of the day it's worth it."
For Richard Jenkins, the film went beyond even what audiences have come to
expect from del Toro.
"Guillermo's filmmaking is like no one else, but this film is also unlike any
he's done before," he notes.
Octavia Spencer was all but waiting for del Toro's call. "I had met him before I
read the script and it felt like
I've known him my entire life," Spencer recalls. "As a filmmaker, he's just an
alchemist. He turns human themes into
Concludes Doug Jones, who has worked with del Toro six times: "In THE SHAPE OF
goes back to his artistic roots and lets all of his creative juices flow."
THE LONELY DREAMER
"What propels Elisa into the unknown is the power of love."
The journey of Elisa from loneliness and powerlessness to a heroine who takes
huge risks forms the beating
heart of THE SHAPE OF WATER, made all the more extraordinary because the role is
almost without words.
Rendered mute by a childhood trauma, Elisa communicates in American Sign
Language (ASL), but she is able to
express herself effusively when she encounters the strange aquatic creature
being warehoused in the government lab
where she works as a cleaning lady.
Elisa's rich and brave interior world comes to life via a luminous performance
from Academy Award nominee
Sally Hawkins that propels the story forward at every turn. "I sent a message to
Sally in 2013 that I was writing this
role for her, and when we met, she told me she had already been in the middle of
writing a short story about a woman
who becomes a fish," del Toro recalls. "She sent me her story and it was full of
Hawkins has played a wide variety of extraordinary and unique roles: an
optimistic school teacher in Mike
Leigh's HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, garnering a Golden Globe Award; her Oscar-nominated
role as Cate Blanchett's
working class sister in Woody Allen's BLUE JASMINE; and most recently as
real-life folk artist Maud Lewis in
Hawkins knew instantly there has never been and will never be a role quite like
Elisa. "It's so rare that you get
a role that asks you to put it all out there. Where it's about unadulterated
expression and words are not needed, and
you have the freedom to express so much through your eyes, breath and body. That
Hawkins was del Toro's muse as he was writing. "Elisa is not someone who had a
horrible existence until the
creature showed up. She was not leading a glamorous existence by any means but
she was content. I needed someone
who evokes that kind of happiness, whose face is able to express every hue
without a word. Sally has that kind of
unique energy, so that is why I wrote it for her. Sally is the most genuine,
unaffected person and I don't think she is
capable of doing anything that isn't emotionally real."
The first read of the script beckoned to Hawkins so powerfully it sparked a few
anxieties. "It was so moving.
It was interestingly familiar to me, yet it was like nothing I've encountered. I
felt like Elisa was a deep part of me, or
like I knew her in another life. I also felt it was the ultimate romantic fairy
tale. At first I was convinced that Guillermo
had the wrong person for the role," she confesses. "It's the kind of romantic
lead I really didn't ever think I would
play, so it's been a dream gift to me."
Hawkins might have had her niggling doubts that fueled her to go beyond her own
expectations but the
filmmakers did not. "With Sally, it's all about what's going on behind the
eyes," says Dale. "Guillermo knew he
needed an incredibly instinctual actor to pull this off, and Sally is able to do
so much with the smallest of expressions
or gestures, with the way she moves and even the tone of her silence."
For Hawkins there was no other means to doing so except to dive in to the deep
end with full abandon,
navigating Elisa's blooming courage as well as a florid fantasy life that
becomes unexpectedly real - with the most
unexpected of partners. Working with del Toro helped her to let go completely
and submerge herself. "Being Elisa
was an incredibly internal kind of journey, but Guillermo is so inclusive and so
values your creativity as well, and
that he really helped," Hawkins explains. "He has such a powerful vision that
whatever your fears are, he just takes
them away and says 'let me worry about that.'"
Her fears were lifted, but the demands remained at a high watermark. "Unless
Guillermo can feel your heart,
he won't be satisfied," Hawkins elaborates. "He wants to be moved in every
frame. But I think that is a kind of gift
to an actor. He invites you to rise to the very high level of his imagination."
Hawkins had a steep learning curve to begin with. She began taking ASL classes
and dance lessons well before
rehearsals began. She also began feeling out the way Elisa moves, her lightness
on the earth. "To me, it seemed she
is always floating, always in a kind of dance, so I wanted to get at that sort
of otherworldly feeling in her physical
being," she describes. "Everything about Elisa is so delicate, I felt even her
sign language should be delicate and
seamless and in sync with her being."
Her aim was total fluency in ASL. "I wanted to learn enough so that if Guillermo
wanted to go in another
direction, we would be free to play around and it would always be natural to
me," she explains.
The sign language and the movement were challenging, but Hawkins says the
outsized crux of the role was
finding Elisa's "voice" without any physical sound to give the audience. She had
to find a more primordial yet
effective ways to communicate - especially because Elisa is someone with a lot
Hawkins reflects: "I had to explore all these very different relationships she
has with very different people -
with Giles, Zelda, Strickland and the creature -- each with such different kinds
of chemistry ... but explore all that
without vocalizing, knowing that the emotion had to be completely authentic and
Part of that authenticity meant digging into why Elisa would risk so much for a
creature whose past is
inaccessible to her, whose very experience of life is a mystery - and digging
into the valor that love unleashes in her.
Hawkins says, "She decides nothing can stand in her way. As soon as she senses
their connection, not trying to help
the creature would be a kind death for her. It just seizes her by the heart and
there's really nothing else she can do.
She just knows she has to save the day. I think it can overtake you when you're
in that frame of mind."
Elisa goes further than she could have envisioned. "I think it takes her by
surprise that she has this incredible
steeliness," Hawkins observes. "She becomes somebody she didn't know she was,
and sees all that she is capable
The remaking of Elisa's world starts when she first spies the creature in his
transport chamber - and immediately
realizes there is something very much alive within. Few details are known of the
creature, only than that he is likely
the last of his kind; that local people in the Amazon worshipped him; that he
carries a marvelous lung structure
allowing him to breathe on land, a potential boon for the Space Race; that the
Soviet military wants to possess him
too; and that, unsettled by his intelligence and physical oddity, the man who
captured him believes the creature to be
a grave danger to humanity.
But Elisa sees none of that when she sets eyes on the iridescent beauty in
chains - to her, he is sheer loneliness
and that makes him instantly worthy of her attention.
THE COLD WARRIOR
The man who hunted the amphibious creature deep across the Amazon with
relentless determination is Richard
Strickland, a steel-jawed, righteous, ambitious government agent who views his
unusual quarry as nothing more than
a ferocious beast to be manhandled into submission - and a ticket to his
Taking the role is one of the most sought-after actors of the current era:
two-time Oscar nominee Michael
Shannon, renown for the intensity with which he's latched onto psychologically
complex roles in such films as TAKE
SHELTER, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and 99 HOMES.
"Strickland is a guy caught up in the whole mindset of the military-industrial
complex, and he is trying to rise
up in the hierarchy. The paranoia of the Cold War has become part of him," says
Del Toro sees Shannon as having mesmerizing contrasts -- exactly what he needed
for Strickland. "Michael
has the incredible precision of a classical English actor and at the same time
the impulsiveness and immediacy of an
American actor," observes the director. "He's also capable of giving humanity to
the most heinous of villains. I
didn't want Strickland to be just the bad guy. I wanted him to be a guy you
almost feel for because he is himself a
victim of the system and his times. I wanted you to him go through things you
wouldn't normally see a villain go
through: self-doubt, reflection and despair. Michael has all those moments in
Dark as Strickland is, del Toro feels a kinship with him, knowing what it's like
to traverse through a rigid world.
"Strickland is a very sad character to me. He's a guy who started with full
belief in his country and in doing the right
thing. Then he realizes how little it takes for people to dislike and abandon
him. I think this part is autobiographical
because the movie business is exactly like that," he confesses. "I've been on
the other side of the conversation
Strickland has with the General."
The lure for Shannon was the chance to take his own trip inside one of del
Toro's intricate universes. "When I
met with Guillermo, he said this film was his dream project -- and I thought it
would be foolish to pass up an
opportunity to be part of his dream project because he is such a big dreamer,"
Shannon expanded Strickland out from the archetype of the sturdy, unquestioning
G-man of the 60s. "I think
Strickland wants to be strong, invulnerable and devoid of mistakes, with that
American gung-ho drive, but he is also
broken down by all that. The tough shell he maintains takes a lot of energy and
behind it lies anxiety, doubt, stress
and fear, which is ultimately revealed throughout the course of the movie."
The stress Strickland feels finds a threatening catharsis in his leering
advances towards Elisa, who he otherwise
views as his low-status lackey. "I think Strickland is attracted to Elisa
because of her vulnerability, and because she
can't talk, but also because she's the exact opposite of him. In an alternate
reality, maybe Strickland wishes he could
be more like her than he is like himself," muses Shannon.
The collaboration with Hawkins had an electric quality from the start, with each
etching their characters to the
point that the tension between Elisa's buoyancy and Strickland's dread could be
cut with a knife. "I've been a fan of
Sally's ever since I saw her in HAPPY GO LUCKY, where she really knocked me out,
so I was eager to work with
her," he says. "It's so challenging playing a part without any spoken lines. Yet
she is able to communicate even more
deeply like that and it was amazing to see."
Hawkins, too, found the yin and yang contrasts between their two characters a
creative charge. "Elisa can see
straight through Strickland for what he is and it was just electrifying to play
that especially because Michael is so
terrifying," she says. "He's like this pressure cooker that explodes -- but
Elisa always holds her ground with him and
that felt so empowering."
For the creature, Strickland is an existential threat. "Strickland sees my
character as a freak and because he
doesn't understand me or even tries, he revels in my torment," says Jones. "He's
sort of the quintessential bully - the
guy who sees something he's ignorant about and wants to push it around. The
interesting contrast is that Michael is
an extremely delightful person in real life but on film, he finds the darkness
of a man as no other actor could. He's
so intense, I don't know if I ever even saw him blink!"
Says Shannon of how Strickland views the creature: "Strickland has seen to the
creature's capture and he's
hoping that will translate into big things. I think the creature gives him a
sense of accomplishment. But he also uses
him to vent all his most pent-up, poisonous feelings."
Most of all, Shannon enjoyed the creative bond with del Toro. "Guillermo really
brings you into the creative
process. And I love that he never stops working. When he's not shooting, he's
editing on the monitor or listening or
thinking. Every atom of his being is always on the hunt for opportunities,
because he doesn't want to take anything
for granted. That's a good fit for me, because I feel that same way."
Working closely with Strickland is David Hewlett (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE
APES) in the role of
Fleming, the head of lab security who has no intention of letting things get out
of control. As Hewlett describes it,
"Fleming is a key part of the hideous government world that this beautiful
creature is thrust into. I think Fleming is
actually quite a weak person because he stands silent while wrong is going on
around him. He thinks he's on the top
of his game but he's actually ineffectual."
Hewlett especially loved the close-knit ensemble that formed among the actors.
"Octavia is a dynamo and I'm
a jerk to her character, but she's just so hilariously lovely in every scene, it
was a challenge for me not to smile," he
comments. "Sally was another plane - I feel it almost hurts to watch her. And
then Shannon is able to make every
single moment he's on screen compelling and terrifying."
Once del Toro knew he was writing a love story, the characters took shape: Elisa
and her two true friends, Giles
and Zelda - were always interlinked in his mind. "Together, the three make up a
single character for me, as if they're
different parts of the same brain. All three are marginal and invisible for
different reasons -- one for race, one for
sexual orientation, one for disability - and then they get together and give it
to the man. The lab thinks they're fighting
powerful Soviet spies, but I love that they are really fighting two cleaning
ladies and a gay artist."
Before Elisa meets the creature, her loneliness is kept at bay by her neighbor
and dearest friend in the world,
Giles, an equally lonely, down-on-his-luck ad-man and avid movie musical lover.
The character takes on a quietly
growing strength as portrayed by Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins (THE
VISITOR, LET ME IN, OLIVE
KITTERIDGE) -- who says he jumped at the chance to be part of "a beautiful,
Jenkins especially relished his first chance to work with del Toro. "To me, he's
like an old master with a
vocabulary all his own. He's also like nobody else I've worked with," the actor
elaborates. "He creates stories that
feel real but also have something more going on, something that speaks to life
and art and love. He's totally singular
and that's why all of us on set were ready to go to the wall for him."
Del Toro had a gut feeling that there was more to Jenkins than has yet been seen
on film. "I felt he could be
not just a great character actor but a true leading man. For Giles, I needed
someone of great elegance, someone whose
symbiosis with Elisa feels second nature. They're not lovers, but they deeply
love and protect one another. They are
simply one of those pairs of people who know they belong together in the world,"
describes the director.
As a gay man in the intolerant 1960s, Giles has few outlets for his inner
emotional life, which was key to
slipping into the skin of a character who chafes ever so quietly against the
times. "I told Richard I wanted Giles to be
someone both hiding and defiant, a strong guy in a vulnerable position,"
describes del Toro. "And he was just
completely real, completely there, coming to part from the inside out."
With Giles frustrated by an art career seemingly going nowhere, his great escape
lies in the Golden Age of
movie musicals, an age that was fading by 1962 but the remnants of which Giles
hunts for regularly on his TV, with
Elisa in tow. "I think Giles loves the idea of a perfect fantasy world," Jenkins
observes. "He doesn't really paint as
an artist anymore and now he's painting just to try to make ends meet, so
musicals are where he lives. That's why
Elisa's journey becomes a journey of salvation for him as well."
Indeed, when Giles encounters the creature, the creative fire that had gone out
in him reignites. "The creature
has an effect on everyone that he comes into contact with," notes Jenkins. "With
Giles, there is a sparking of his love
of art because of course he wants to paint this remarkable, mysterious being."
Jenkins adored working with Hawkins, especially because they had such
one-of-a-kind form of communication
between a man desperate to talk to someone and a mute woman. He says of Hawkins:
"This is her movie, and I can't
think of anyone else who could have played this part. I also think she has no
idea just how good she is."
Hawkins felt an equal pull towards Jenkins. "I've always wanted to work with
him," she says. "I found him
both smart and free. Every take is different with Richard every time, yet each
time it's fantastic. He taps into
something so vulnerable in Giles. His willingness to go to deep places was a
great joy for me."
The only other person to whom Elisa confides is her co-worker Zelda, a veteran
cleaning lady at the lab who
has come to not only comprehend Elisa but to gossip, share and unite with her.
Taking the role of the confidante
pulled into Elisa's scheme is Octavia Spencer, an Academy Award winner for her
supporting role in THE HELP
and a recent nominee for portraying real-life NASA mathematician Dorothy Vaughan
in HIDDEN FIGURES.
It was the look in Spencer's eyes del Toro had in his mind when he wrote the
part for her. "A lot of casting for
me is in the eyes because 50% of acting is listening and looking. Each character
in this film has a certain way of
looking and I felt I needed Octavia's eyes," he explains. "She has a very
powerful gaze. She is so entirely human
and represents the best of what it is to be human with her spunk and her
strength and her intelligence. When Octavia
looks at you, you feel you are forgiven all your sins."
When she read the script, Zelda caught Spencer's imagination, especially as a
woman who would have had little
power, agency or recognition in those times, but proves to have a heroic streak
she never had explored. "Part of
what's beautiful about this movie is that it is about the invisible people, the
help. Even amid all this intrigue involving
the government, spies, scientists and the creature, I think it's very
interesting that at the forefront of the story you
have a cleaning crew," Spencer points out.
Spencer zeroed in on Zelda's strengths, which are tested in the course of the
film. "Zelda is very opinionated
and does not have a problem expressing herself," Spencer muses. "I would say if
Elisa is the heart of the film, Zelda
is kind of the muscle at least in their world of the cleaning crew."
There is also a symbiosis that occurs between Zelda and Elisa, with each
bringing a strong suit the other needs.
"My character's always talking, whereas Elisa uses her silence. Together we
become one stronger unit, and with Sally
that all happened in a very seamless way," Spencer says.
Hawkins and Spencer have an off-screen friendship that translated perfectly into
Elisa and Zelda's tacit
affection. "Octavia's a dear friend so it felt natural and right to do this with
her," says Hawkins. "Octavia's super
smart and very, very funny and I love that she does not allow Zelda to ever be a
cliche. Instead, her incredible heart
comes out as you see Zelda going through a transformation of her own."
When it came to her initial encounters with the creature, Spencer purposely
avoided even looking at early
drawings - she wanted her reaction to be spontaneous. "Guillermo was so excited
to show us all sketches of the
creature, but I didn't want to see anything until my character has to see it. I
like to experience things in real time,"
she explains. "When I did finally see it, it was just ...wow, with the gills and
scales, it seemed incredibly real."
The creature frightens Zelda enough to keep her distance, even as he magnetizes
Elisa. "I think most people
fear the unknown," Spencer comments, "and Zelda is all about keeping her job.
She knows the cleaning staff is not
supposed to pay attention to the secrets there. So she tries to ignore the
creature, seeing him as more a 'thing' than a
person, until she realizes her friend is in love and that changes everything."
A third character plays a hazier role in Elisa's life: Dr. Robert Hoffstetler,
the marine biologist tasked with
studying the creature's distinct lung structure - who for better or for worse
becomes aware of Elisa's furtive link with
the laboratory's top secret captive, and misinterprets her intentions.
Portraying the man of science torn between duty, country and his admiration for
the creature is Michael
Stuhlbarg, known for a diverse range of roles including in the Coen brothers' A
SERIOUS MAN, Woody Allen's
BLUE JASMINE, Danny Boyle's STEVE JOBS and HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE.
After seeing him in several of those, del Toro had written down Stuhlbarg's name
as someone with whom he
wanted to work. "I saw in him the ability to transform from a killer to a saint
to a tragic figure and I knew he could
create a composite character like Hoffstetler, who is on the one hand a very
capable spy and on the other a
compassionate, altruistic scientist capable of real sacrifice," he explains.
"He's the guy with the strongest principles
because he takes an enormous risk to do what's right."
Hoffstetler is beset by clashing agendas. "He has a complicated history,"
Stuhlbarg notes, "but his first love is
science and as he becomes more fascinated by the creature, I think he also falls
in love a bit with him as well. They're
both alone and maybe they recognize that in each other."
To give Stuhlbarg a lot to chew on, del Toro offered him a deep dossier on
Hoffstetler. "Guillermo wrote for
me this whole beautiful biography of who he thought this man was. It started
from his youth in Russia, the kind of
training he would have gone through to be in his position and also his passion
for marine science," Stuhlbarg explains.
"He is caught between the Soviets and the Americans who care more about stopping
the other from getting this
magical creature than learning from the creature. But Hoffstetler realizes what
he wants most is to save the creature's
Stuhlbarg was by no means fluent in Russian, which triggered a rapid-fire series
of lessons in what is widely
perceived as one of the globe's most perplexing languages to pick up. "I'd
actually taken Russian for six weeks in
college and spoken Russian here or there in plays. So I was a bit familiar with
the flavor and rhythm, but it was a
long learning process. When production began, I was one of the first main
characters to have a speaking scene and it
was in Russian so it was trial by fire. I just threw myself in and it seemed to
fly. I was delighted that I could to find
a way inside Hoffstetler while doing so."
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