Because The Shape of Water was always meant to be a romantic fairy tale for adults, director Guillermo del Toro knew that if he was going to sell audiences on the idea of an inter-species love affair, he would need to try (in earnest) to make the fish man at least somewhat conventionally attractive. Rather than focusing on the creature’s face, hands, or mouth, del Toro made the excellent decision to simply give the fish man a nice arse.
Speaking in an interview contained within the official art book for the film, sculptor Mike Hill described how del Toro recruited his own wife and two daughters as consultants on the monster bum. It wasn’t until del Toro got the all-clear from his family that the bum was a good bum that the film’s production really kicked into gear. Said del Toro:
“Every female in the del Toro household was crucial. Too much derriere, not enough derriere, the shoulders are not beautiful enough.’ The butt we show abundantly in the movie. it was a very delicate sculpture process because it always had to be run by my household. All in all, this was the longest gestation period for a creature design—three years counting from 2013 to 2016!”
You know what? The fish man does have an awfully nice bum. It’s the sort of bum that comes from swimming a lot which, well, makes sense. As nice a bum though the fish man may have, it doesn’t at all address any of the more urgent, pressing questions and concerns that I, personally, have about the movie. To specify: Elisa and the fish have have full-on intercourse. She describes to her best friend Zelda how the fish man’s penis only extends after his protective sheath/penile enclosure opens up like a pair of doors.
Who was consulted on the penis doors, del Toro? Who?!