"The Shape of Water" accused of plagiarism, again.

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Tis the season to smear. You can always expect smear campaigns to arise every Oscar season, after all the nasty feuding for awards love is nothing new in Hollywood. "Saving Private Ryan" dealt with it in 1998 when it was accused of erasing British presence in the opening D-Day combat, there was the complete scrub of homosexuality in "A Beautiful Mind," "Slumdog Millionaire" severely underpaying its Indian child actors,  "Zero Dark Thirty," supposedly, promoting torture and how can we forget last year's "La La Land," which was accused of not being an authentic enough portrayal of  Jazz oh, and for being "too-white." You understand the gist of it, smear campaigns are Hollywood traditions that date back many years. People will find something to nitpick about and hate on, especially if you're the front runner.



With all that being said, this year is surely no exception. Not many big studio films have had to deal with the amount of accusations Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water" has had these last few months. It all started with  students from the Netherlands Film Academy claiming that the premise of their short film "The Space Between Us," was ripped off by del Toro. Both films were about women falling for fish men at a laboratory.   Meanwhile director Jean-Pierre Jeunet called plagiarism when he pointed out similarities between a dance scene in his 1991 classic "Delicatessen" which took place in a sofa but slowly delved into musically moving body rhythms. And now a third accusation. Late playwright Paul Zindel's representatives have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in which they claim del Toro lifted elements from Zindel's play "Let Me Hear Your Whisper," which dealt with a woman falling for a dolphin a top-secret laboratory. Fox Searchlight immediately fired back in a statement saying: “Guillermo del Toro has never read nor seen Mr Zindel’s play in any form.”

Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.
Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.Del Toro’s romantic fantasy is nominated for 13 Oscars and currently the front-runner to win Best Picture come March 4th, so it is not surprising that these attacks are occurring precisely at this moment in time. However, given the fact that they all have to do with plagiarism, it must be quite disheartening for del Toro whose film does deal with familiar cinematic tropes but still feels like something we've never seen before. It's a testament to his filmmaking talent that he managed to bring freshness to a story as old as time. We all know there can only be so many creative plots to go around in storytelling, which would explain why a fairy tale such as "The Shape of Water" is being attacked for stealing ideas. The film feels familiar but, at the same time, incredible original and fresh. Suffice to say, different people having the same idea is not necessarily a rare occurrence in TV's, movies and books. Hell, even in music there are only so many chord progressions you can come up with.PinteresBill Murray in Groundhog Day. The film saw off a plagiarism claim. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/ColSome studios have fought accusations and won. The producers of Die Hard were sued by the actor-writer-director Alexis Kanner, who stated in a 352-page suit that the movie represented the “wholesale cinematic Xeroxing” and “cinematic rape” of his 1981 thriller Kings and Desperate Men. He lost, and rightly so: the films, both brilliant in their own way, have nothing in common but hostages and explosive Groundhog Day came under attack from Leon Arden, who believed the film had ripped off his screenplay One Fine Day about a time loop that returns one man repeatedly to 15 April, the deadline for US tax returns. The judge disagreed, calling Groundhog Day “a creative, entertaining work that is substantially different from [Arden’s] expression of his idea” and arguably paving the way for that film in turn to be rehashed as Source Code, 50 First Dates, Edge of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day. Most cases, however, are settled quietly out of court to avoid adverse publicity and stratospheric legal fees. This was true of The Terminator, which owed a creative debt to an Outer Limits episode written by Harlan Ellison, who was added to the film’s credits, and Look Who’s Talking, which was accused of being too close to another baby-oriented script, Special Delivery. But it isn’t only in the studio’s best interest to settle. Donna Douglas and Curt Wilson sued Disney, claiming that the Whoopi Goldberg comedy Sister Act was ripped off from their script, A Nun in the Closet. Disney offered a $1m settlement, which the writers rejected in favour of going to trial. The case was later thrown out. Compensation came there nun. Litigation is now part of the landscape in Hollywood. “Go ahead and send your script to Universal, Paramount, all those guys,” says Bailey. “They’ll just ship it back to you unopened. They can’t risk you saying they stole your work.” Even that belt-and-braces approach doesn’t preclude legal action. The nadir of movie litigation arguably occurred when a visual design artist succeeded in delaying the US release of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys after noticing that a chair similar to one he had designed had been used in a scene without credit. On the whole, though, sanity prevails. “Most claims are genuine but mistaken,” Bailey says. For his part, Wrathall has learned to take a sanguine approach. “My attitude is like that line in The Red Shoes: ‘It is much more disheartening t have to steal than to be stolen from.’”