Guillermo del Toro casts a spell on Toronto with The Shape of Water

Monday’s late-night premiere turned into a star-studded love-in for the city in which it was filmed.


Who cares what time it was?

The Shape of Water began around 10:15 p.m., nearly an hour late, on Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival but the besotted audience didn’t seem to care, giving director Guillermo del Toro a rousing welcome before the film even rolled.

The director’s latest fantasy was hotly anticipated here, having just won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize. It was also shot at numerous recognizable locations around Toronto, del Toro’s adopted hometown. The premiere at the historic Elgin Theatre was especially appropriate, since key scenes were shot in that very theatre.

TIFF apparently understood what great value del Toro is, as a booster of Toronto’s booming film and television industry. The film was introduced by festival creative director Cameron Bailey, then by Mayor John Tory, before del Toro himself got onstage to introduce the cast. Perhaps attracted by the film’s Venice buzz, other famous faces could be spotted in the audience, including Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Benedict Cumberbatch.