"I have to say Doug, I loved you in Hellboy. Like, I REALLY, REALLY loved you in Hellboy."


"I have to say Doug, I loved you in Hellboy. Like, I REALLY, REALLY loved you in Hellboy."

THE SHAPE OF WATER

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. FANTASTICAL MAGICAL UNDERWATER APARTMENT

FURNITURE and OBJECTS and PEOPLE float about in a visually interesting way.

RICHARD JENKINS (V/O)

Hello audience. Remember how we all loved the story of the lady who fell in love with a horned beast? Or the half-fish girl who sold herself to evil to be with a human? In keeping with this bizarrely popular tradition, we now present the magical tale of the woman who got thirsty for fish sticks.

(pause)

If you asked me what happened, what would I tell you? Perhaps I would tell you about Her; about a tale of love and loss; and the monster that almost destroyed it all AND GUESS WHAT THE MONSTER MIGHT NOT BE QUITE THE ONE YOU EXPECT, WOAHHHHH, JUST SAYING THE SUPERFICIALLY OBVIOUS CHOICE MIGHT TURN OUT TO NOT BE THE REAL MONSTER AFTER ALL WOOAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

We transition to the NON-UNDERWATER, NOBODY-DROWNING version of the apartment where SALLY HAWKINS begins her daily routine late at night because she works the midnight shift.

SALLY HAWKINS

Hello. In the real movie I don’t speak at all. But don’t worry, I am very good at emoting! And my VERY FIRST SCENE is me masturbating in a bathtub, which really establishes profound respect for my character.

SALLY checks in on RICHARD JENKINS, her neighbour who has a far nicer apartment despite having no job. RICHARD rambles on about shit and tells a few raunchy jokes while SALLY smiles and listens and eventually leaves.

INT. SINISTER GOVERNMENT FACILITY -- 1962

SALLY arrives at work where her friend OCTAVIA SPENCER lets her cut the line to punch in.

DISGRUNTLED CO-WORKER

You always let her butt in line Octavia! I swear, one day you'll pay for this! Yep, at some point later on I'll definitely throw a wrench into your plans, especially since I have no other reason to exist in this

(vanishes)

SALLY and OCTAVIA are cleaners and so they set about cleaning things! Eventually they make their way to the BIG GIANT TANK AND POOL ROOM which was built just in case they ever had to store a large marine specimen.

PERPETUALLY FRAZZLED BOSS

Attention everyone! The Asset is on its way here and I don't want to oversell this, but it's pretty much the most important thing IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. Remember, this is top-secret national-security shit, so for God's sake nobody ask the cleaning staff to leave!!

They wheel in a GIANT STEAMPUNK CYLINDER accompanied by MICHAEL SHANNON who is in EVIL MODE!

MICHAEL SHANNON

Okay yes, but I'm not playing some stupid two-dimensional comic-book villain like General Zod. I'm DONE with that shit. This is a proper serious highbrow role where I get to display a whole range of characteristics, like... let's see here...

(produces checklist)

Mysogynist, racist, xenophobic, sadistic, ableist, unfaithful, unhygenic, abusive, bigoted, selfish... and that's just page one! Ah, sweet, sweet nuance.

INT. MEN'S WASHROOM

Later on, SALLY and OCTAVIA are cleaning the MEN'S ROOM when MICHAEL SHANNON barges in and takes a leak using NO HANDS.

MICHAEL SHANNON

It's a sign of weakness to use your hands to go pee. In fact, I unbuttoned my fly using only my dick. Fully functioning hands are for Commies.

OCTAVIA SPENCER

Glad you feel that way, I just read ahead to the next scene...

Sure enough in the next scene he gets two fingers TOTES BITTEN OFF, meaning SALLY and OCTAVIA have to clean up the entire BLOOD-STAINED POOL ROOM. But more importantly SALLY sees the fish-creature of her dreams for the first time and he’s streaming with blood but whatever, love is in the air and all.

INT. MICHAEL SHANNON'S OFFICE

MICHAEL calls in SALLY and OCTAVIA for an interview.

MICHAEL SHANNON

First, thanks for finding my fingers. That's really all I wanted to say... oh besides establishing that I’m an asshole racist, comparing myself to God, and mocking Sally for having her voicebox destroyed at a young age. Later I'll also perv out on Sally. Actually this is ticking a whole ream off my checklist!

OCTAVIA SPENCER

And we also learn here that Sally was an orphan and was found NEXT TO A RIVER and has GILL-LIKE SCARS.

(winks)

SALLY HAWKINS

(holds up FOUR fingers)

(holds sheet of paper above fingers, thus SHADOWING them)

INT. TANK ROOM WITH THE VERY BIGGEST TANK YOU EVER DID SEE, WELL UNLESS YOU COUNT THE 2014-15 BUFFALO SABRES HARDY HAR HAR

SALLY sets about secretly feeding eggs to MERMAN DOUG JONES, teaching him sign language, playing him some music, and dancing for him. This goes unnoticed for quite a long time considering we are in a super secret lab during an era when the paranoia-meter of the US was set to INFINITY BILLION.

SALLY HAWKINS

Please have this egg, I boiled it while I was masturbating.

GLUG JONES

(blinks eyes)

SALLY HAWKINS

(signing)

This is an egg. Egg.

GLUG JONES

(copying Sally's signing)

Food. This means food.

SALLY HAWKINS

(plays record)

(signing)

Music.

GLUG JONES

(imitating)

Phonograph. Yes. Well now that I know the words Food and Phonograph, I can easily build a full comprehension of the English language!

Suddenly MICHAEL SHANNON arrives with his boss GENERAL EVIL and SALLY hides! Well "hides" in the sense that anyone looking in her direction would spot her instantly, as SCIENTIST MICHAEL STUHLBARG does. Luckily he mistakes her for a LARGE MOUSE and says nothing.

GENERAL EVIL

Gentlemen, please summarize your diametrically opposite viewpoints for the audience.

MICHAEL STUHLBARG

We can learn so much from this creature! It lives in water but can ALSO live for a brief time on land, which is a totally unique ability not found in any other life form! You see, in this world amphibians do not exist.

MICHAEL SHANNON

I think we've learned all we can. We've tried beating it, hurting it, torturing it, maiming it, stabbing it, shocking it, like, what else IS there?!?

GENERAL EVIL

(chomps cigar)

Hrm. Either way I better see some results soon or I'll have your GUN and your BADGE! Private, issue this civilian a gun and a badge for taking-away leverage!! Now where's that damned Sgt. Friday, he's a LOOSE CANNON!! FRRIIIIDDAAAAYYYY

(storms out)

INT. MICHAEL SHANNON'S HOME

After a brief stop to get pressured into buying a NEW CADILLAC and cross "FRAGILE MALE EGO" off his checklist, MICHAEL arrives home to see his wife and kids.

MICHAEL SHANNON

I'm starting to realize my character may not have the layers I'd hoped. But maybe, even though I'm cruel and heartless at WORK, perhaps here at HOME is where I can show another side of-

MICHAEL proceeds to totally ignore his KIDS and then angrily fucks his WIFE while holding his bloody re-attached fingers over her mouth to shut her the fuck up.

MICHAEL SHANNON

Goddammit. Fine, are there any babies I should be murdering?

INT. SECRET GOVERNMENT FACILITY - THE NEXT DAY

While going about her routine SALLY happens to see GENERAL EVIL and the TWO MICHAELS through a window, having an important conversation.

MICHAEL STUHLBARG

(applies "sad clown" makeup to face)

(plaintive gestures)

(plays violin)

GENERAL EVIL

(draws finger across throat)

(mimes hanging himself)

(mimes shooting machine gun)

(convulses body and flops into chair)

MICHAEL SHANNON

(two thumbs up)

(pops open champagne)

(sharpens butcher knife)

(grins evilly)

Thanks to her fine-tuned empathic senses, SALLY is able to piece together the subtle cues and she realizes what's about to happen!

INT. SALLY'S APARTMENT BUILDING

SALLY panics and runs home to beg RICHARD to help her rescue GLUG JONES. She makes him REPEAT all her signed dialogue aloud because the OVERTIME RATES for the subtitles people are BULLSHIT.

SALLY HAWKINS

Please Richard, we can't let him die! The way he stands facing my direction, eats food I bring him, the way he takes up space in the room! Don't you see, I must risk everything for him, even my life!!

RICHARD JENKINS

Sorry but no. I've got my own hopes and dreams. Starting with my artwork for this new ad campaign!

ADVERTISING GUY

Actually we need to change a few things. The red Jello should be green. And the part where you get paid should be you fuck off and die.

(pisses on artwork)

RICHARD JENKINS

Fuck. But there's that young cute dude at the diner who I'm sure is totally into me!

YOUNG, CUTE, OH AND DID WE MENTION RACIST HOMOPHOBE ASSHOLE HITLER YOUTH DUDE WHO IS AN ACTUAL MONSTER, PERHAPS NOT QUITE THE MONSTER YOU WERE EXPECTING WHAAAAAT

Ah nope.

RICHARD JENKINS

SHIT. Well it turns out I have no hopes or dreams after all. I guess I'll help since I have literally nothing else in my entire life! Aren't I a great friend.

INT. SHADY GOVERNMENT FACILITY

SALLY and RICHARD commence their sneaky BREAKOUT PLAN! First SALLY just kind of shoves a security camera aside hoping nobody is watching the monitors. Meanwhile RICHARD uses his painting skill to paint AN ENTIRE LAUNDRY TRUCK into existence. SALLY goes to the tank room to get GLUG JONES!

SALLY HAWKINS

Now to rip apart his cast-iron chains with my scrawny bare hands. Here goes!

MICHAEL STUHLBARG

Or allow me! I have the key. I was watching the monitors earlier and saw your clumsy sabotage, but luckily I'm on your side. And I'm a Russian spy! My spy-handlers gave me this gizmo to blow the lights for 5 minutes, plus this syringe of poison that I killed a guard with, who was about to shoot Richard because his disguise was garbage.

SALLY HAWKINS

(pause)

Holy FUCK are we lucky you exist. Our plan was fucked in like ten different ways.

OCTAVIA SPENCER

Make that eleven! I did your punchcard for you, took care of that little thing you forgot called an alibi. And you didn't think you could push this cart filled with tons of laundry, Glug Jones, AND his special gear, all by yourself did you? Damn girl, was ANY part of your plan not hopelessly awful?

SALLY HAWKINS

(emotes dramatically)

MICHAEL STUHLBARG

Okay we'll give you that. Let's go!

The completely rewritten plan WORKS and they successfully get JONES back to SALLY'S PLACE and stash him in the FAPTUB.

INT. MICHAEL SHANNON'S OFFICE - THE NEXT DAY

SHANNON interviews the entire staff trying to figure out what happened.

MICHAEL SHANNON

So, Sally. You had full access to the room, and have demonstrated empathy for the Asset. And you knew we were about to kill it.

SALLY HAWKINS

(nods)

MICHAEL SHANNON

On the other hand, your punchcard got clocked out before the incident. And as we all know, ONLY the proper owner of a punchcard can put it in the machine, and it's impossible for someone NOT to leave once their card is punched.

(refers to checklist)

Oh and besides you're lower-class scum without the brains or skill to pick your own nose, gotta get that elitism in there!

SALLY HAWKINS

(signs FUCK YOU)

MICHAEL SHANNON

What was that now?

SALLY HAWKINS

(flips the bird)

(does "jerkoff" motion)

(makes voodoo doll of Shannon and shits on it)

MICHAEL SHANNON

Hmmmmmm. Well I still don't suspect you so please leave.

INT. RICHARD'S APARTMENT

SALLY arrives to find RICHARD distraught and injured, and RICHARD'S CAT slightly MORE injured in the sense of having its HEAD BITTEN OFF.

RICHARD JENKINS

Thank God you're home! Glug ate this cat in a fit of karmic reversal, then scratched me and fled into the night! He could be literally anywhere, lost and alone in a terrifying, unfamiliar world, surrounded by unknown dangers that-

SALLY HAWKINS

He was downstairs.

RICHARD JENKINS

Oh.

SALLY HAWKINS

Yes luckily he wandered into the giant movie theatre below us, where he became transfixed by the Magic of the Movies™ COUGHOSCARBAITCOUGHCOUGH

JONES apologetically places his hands on RICHARD'S BALDING HEAD and WOUNDED ARM because OH HEY D'YOU THINK MAYBE HE'S GOT HEALING POWERS?!? WHAT AN UNEXPECTED FUCKING TWIST THAT WOULD BE RIGHT?!?

RICHARD JENKINS

So what's our new plan?

SALLY HAWKINS

I'll take him to the canal, where he should be fine even though water conditions will be completely different from his native habitat in South America. But I have to wait for the heavy rains coming on the 10th so that the locks will be full.

RICHARD JENKINS

Or we could drive to the coast since we're in Baltimore.

SALLY HAWKINS

No no no! We have to wait for the big gushing wetness!

(pause)

Of rain.

RICHARD JENKINS

So we're keeping him here. What if the facility decides to search all its employees' homes, which would kind of make sense?

SALLY HAWKINS

That's a risk I'm horny to take. I mean willing. Oh GOD do I mean willing. To be taken. TAKE. Let me start over.

(deep breath)

It's a risk... I'm willing... to take. Phew, nailed me. IT. FUCK. WHELP TIME TO BOIL SOME EGGS THEN SALLY

(masturbates)

INT. SALLY'S PLACE -- SIX TO SEVEN MINUTES LATER

SALLY tends to GLUG JONES in her BATH. She touches him gently, and he shows interest in her RACK.

SALLY HAWKINS

I can't believe you were God to an entire people and never saw tit before. But I must confess, I've been drawn to you ever since I saw your huge thick containment tube!

(drops robe)

Let's do this thing.

And so, this fateful star-crossed evening, SALLY embraces her destiny as a FISH FUCKER. Which as far as we can see involves mostly HUGGING, but after all this is highbrow tasteful art-house stuff, not like we're gonna take a trip to MCDOWNTOWN'S for some FELLATIO-FISH or anything.

SALLY HAWKINS

Ooh let's flood the whole room!

She stuffs a TOWEL under the door which magically seals up 80% of the room. She turns all the taps on and they FUCK some more while the room fills up. Some water does of course LEAK downstairs and begins to flood RICHARD'S PLACE and the downstairs THEATRE so way to lay low and try to avoid detection there.

INT. MICHAEL SHANNON'S OFFICE

GENERAL EVIL shows up to chew out SHANNON.

GENERAL EVIL

You gotta find that Asset dammit and destroy it! We can't let the Russkies, etc etc. By the way how are those reattached fingers doing?

MICHAEL SHANNON

Oh they've rotted and turned super disgusting of course, almost like it's some kind of METAPHOR FOR MY PUTRID FESTERING SOOOUUUUL

GENERAL EVIL

Huh. You might think we'd have been checking up on that, not just let you get sick and die.

MICHAEL SHANNON

You might. Anyway I found this Russkie sabotage equipment so I bet someone here's a Russkie. I may be pure unmitigated evil but at least I can call out Russian interference when I see it!

INT. SALLY'S APARTMENT

SALLY and GLUG take some time out from AQUA-BONING to have some food. SALLY decides it's a good time to pour her heart out since GLUG is completely ignoring her and just cramming eggs down his gullet.

SALLY HAWKINS

I'm worried Glug. There's lots of buzz around Get Out and Lady Bird, I think we need something to push us over the top... oh wait, I've got it!

They segue into a BLACK-AND-WHITE OLD-TIMEY HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL SONG-AND-DANCE NUMBER!! HAHAHA TRY NOT GIVING THIS BEST PICTURE NOW, YOU NOSTALGIA-ASSED MOTION PICTURE ACADEMY FUCKERS, YOU CAN'T HELP YOURSELF CAN YOU, HA HA HA

EXT. SECLUDED INDUSTRIAL RENDEZVOUS POINT

Meanwhile MICHAEL STUHLBARG meets with his KGB SPY HANDLERS, who are led by NIGEL BENNETT in case you didn't already know this was filmed in TORONTO.

NIGEL BENNETT

Sorry Michael, we found out you're ALSO working for The Post and Call Me By Your Name! Now you die!!

(shoots Michael!)

But just then SHANNON arrives and kills the SPY HANDLERS!

MICHAEL SHANNON

Okay you commie dirtbag, tell me everything. If you don't talk I'll drag you around by the gunshot wound in your face. And if you DO talk, well, I'll still do that.

MICHAEL STUHLBARG

I risked everything to help Sally and Glug, and I'm all shot up so I'm gonna die any minute now... eh fuck it, why not sell them out with my last breath?

(hands over full dossier of Sally's plans)

EXT. DOWN BY THE DOCKS

SALLY and RICHARD arrive at the docks with GLUG who has become DEATHLY ILL!

SALLY HAWKINS

Quickly Richard, he needs true sea water to survive!

RICHARD JENKINS

Why can't he use his miracle healing power on himself?

SALLY HAWKINS

Yeah well why couldn't Starman heal himself? Or E.T.? He just can't okay!! Until a minute from now when he does.

Before they can reach the edge MICHAEL SHANNON arrives, SHOVES RICHARD ASIDE, and SHOOTS SALLY and GLUG!

RICHARD JENKINS

Not sure why you didn't shoot all three of us but okay!

(clubs Shannon)

This momentarily STUNS SHANNON, giving GLUG enough time to wave his hand and make his GUNSHOT WOUNDS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT DISAPPEAR, including dissolving any and all BULLET FRAGMENTS still inside his body!

MICHAEL SHANNON

You don't scare me Glug. I've got awards, so many awards, and you're under fifty pounds of makeup and costuming. You can't defeat me.

GLUG JONES

TELL THAT TO ZOD'S SLASHED NECK

(kills Shannon)

Sirens announce that the COPS have arrived, led in by OCTAVIA because she is COMMISSIONER GORDON now. GLUG takes SALLY in his arms and jumps into the water---never to return!!

RICHARD JENKINS (V/O)

What should I tell you happened next? Did Glug completely heal Sally, revealing that her supposed neck wounds were actually gills, so she could live with him as a mermaid-like being?

(thinks)

Nah, that's going too far. More likely her bloated corpse is floating down the Amazon right now. Well, g'night everybody!

END

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