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Here's why 'The Shape of Water' was set in Baltimore (and yes, they 'screwed up with the accents')

Turns out Guillermo del Toro not only appreciates Baltimore’s cinematic heritage, but was anxious to pay tribute to it in his Oscar-winning movie “The Shape of Water.”

Del Toro’s movie, about a mute, lovelorn cleaning woman at a secret government research facility who falls in love with a gill man kidnapped from his South American home, is set in Baltimore. And while it may not have been shot in Charm City — it was primarily filmed in Toronto – del Toro said the location was meant as a tribute to some of the city’s favorite sons.

Growing up, the Mexican-born director said, he was a big fan of Barry Levinson’s Baltimore trilogy, the first three films the Baltimore native set and shot in his hometown. Setting “The Shape of Water” in Baltimore, del Toro said, was meant as a tribute to those movies.

“They’re all landmarks of American cinema,” he said of “Diner,” “Tin Men” and “Avalon,” also adding a small apology.

“I know we screwed up with the accents,” del Toro said. “I’m very very very aware with that.”

And then, as he was getting ready to leave the backstage interview room and celebrate his Oscar wins — for best director and best picture — he threw out one more accolade to Charm City’s finest.

“And then there’s John Waters, man,” he added.

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