Guillermo del Toro has successfully brushed off a copyright lawsuit accusing him of stealing the idea for his Oscar-winning sci-fi romance The Shape of Water.
In 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson dismissed legal action brought by representatives overseeing the estate of the playwright Paul Zindel, who accused the director of lifting plot elements from the late dramatist's 1969 play, Let Me Hear You Whisper.
The case was reinstated by appeals court officials last summer, and a trial was due to begin in July, but on Friday, representatives for del Toro and studio officials behind the movie revealed the two sides had since agreed to have the dispute dismissed, with each party covering its own legal expenses.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Searchlight Pictures told The Hollywood Reporter: "David Zindel, the son of Paul Zindel, author of Let Me Hear You Whisper, acknowledges, based on confidential information obtained during the litigation process, that his claims of plagiarism are unfounded."
The statement added: "(Zindel) acknowledges Guillermo del Toro as the true creator of The Shape of Water. Any similarity between the two works is coincidental."
Officials for the Zindel estate have yet to comment on the development.