Among the many conversation points circling Guillermo Del Toro’s recent Best Picture winner, The Shape Of Water, one of the most prominent was its sexual aspect, and, specifically, the physical relationship between Sally Hawkins’ Elisa and the “asset,” played by Doug Jones. Much ink has been spilled in recent months about the movie’s sexuality, including and especially Del Toro and his team’s efforts to craft a gill-man with a convincingly attractive silhouette.
Very little of that writing, though, has come from the perspective of someone who’s already inherently attracted to marine life; hence the fascination with which we greeted this piece from The Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg, who recently interviewed self-described zoophile Malcolm Brenner—famous online for his 2010 book Wet Goddess, in which he describes the time he had sexual intercourse with a dolphin named Dolly in the 1970s—about his feelings on the film.
Brenner—who carefully distinguishes himself from someone with an interest in bestiality, emphasizing the emotional connection he seeks with non-human companions—liked the film overall, but also criticized it as a “fantasy.” Speaking specifically about the film’s sex scene, he said:
Given the course of the development of their relationship, it seems sort of natural. Although I must say, I find a dolphin a lot more sexy than that thing was. Then again, I’m not Elisa. Maybe you have to take it where you can get it…As long as, apparently, the object of your desire is a featherless biped, we’re not going to let a few gills or scales stand in the way of true romance, seems to be Hollywood’s dictum. Quadrupeds? No. Animals with flukes? No. But if it looks like a man…
Later, he added:
I’m sure a lot of the good liberals who criticized me for making love with a dolphin loved this film because the hero was a featherless biped. If “the asset” had been a dolphin, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as popular.
It is, unsurprisingly, a decidedly weird and amazing interview; kudos to Feinberg for beating the rest of us to this particular scoop.