26/01/2018 14:33 GMT

‘Shape Of Water’ Creators Deny Plagiarism Following Statement From Playwright Paul Zindel's Estate

The film garnered 13 Oscar nominations earlier this week.

Fox Searchlight, the studio behind the film of the moment ‘Shape Of Water’, have been forced to speak out over alleged plagiarism claims, following a statement from the estate of Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Zindel.

Paul’s son, David, told The Guardian he believes filmmaker Guillermo del Toro copied his dad’s 1969 play ‘Let Me Hear You Whisper’, borrowing elements of the plot for his Oscar-nominated film.

‘Let Me Hear You Whisper’ tells the story of a female cleaner working in a research laboratory, who bonds with one of the dolphins being kept there, who she then tries to rescue.

20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in 'Shape Of Water' 

Guillermo’s film is set in the 1960s and sees Elisa, a cleaner played by Sally Hawkins, in a laboratory fall in love with a sea creature, who she also then attempts to free.

“We are shocked that a major studio could make a film so obviously derived from my late father’s work without anyone recognizing it and coming to us for the rights,” Paul told The Guardian.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
 Guillermo del Toro backstage at the Golden Globes 

However, a spokesperson for the studio has responded, telling the paper that Guillermo has not seen or read Zindel’s play “in any form”.

“Mr del Toro has had a 25 year career during which he has made 10 feature films and has always been very open about acknowledging his influences,” their statement reads. “If the Zindel family has questions about this original work we welcome a conversation with them.”

After walking away from the Golden Globes with two awards - Best Director and Best Original Score - ‘Shape Of Water’ bagged 13 Oscar nominations earlier this week, including for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.