Guillermo Del Toro is under fire for his Oscar nominated masterpiece 'The Shape of Water', after the son of celebrated playwright Paul Zindel accused him of stealing the plot from one of his plays without crediting the writer's work. His team have, of course, denied all such allegations.

Guillermo del Toro at the Critics' Choice AwardsGuillermo del Toro at the Critics' Choice Awards

David Zindel has spoken out about his 'shock' that 'The Shape of Water' bears so many similarities to that of Paul Zindel's 1969 play 'Let Me Hear You Whisper', and has slammed Fox Searchlight for developing the picture without seeking rights for the idea.

'We are shocked that a major studio could make a film so obviously derived from my late father's work without anyone recognizing it and coming to us for the rights', David Zindel told The Guardian. 'A lot of people are telling us they are struck by the substantial similarities. We are very grateful to Paul Zindel's fans for bringing this to our attention.'

'The Shape of Water' was co-written by Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, and is currently up for a total of 13 Academy Award nominations. Set in the 60s, it's about a mute laboratory janitor who falls in love with a humanoid sea creature who is being observed in the lab, and her attempts to help him escape from his clinical prison.

Indeed, this concept is extraordinarily similar to that of 'Let Me Hear You Whisper'. Not only is the initial premise identical, but there are also several scenes that echo the original play such as the janitor dancing with a mop, the threat of 'vivisection' specifically, having another friend within the lab to help them rescue their watery lover, and even the use of the laundry cart as an escape route.

The only stark difference is the fact that Sally Hawkins' character in the movie is mute while the protagonist in the play can speak, but references the creature as being mute.

More: Watch the trailer for 'The Shape of Water' 

'Guillermo del Toro has never read nor seen Mr Zindel's play in any form', Fox Searchlight said in a statement. 'Mr del Toro has had a 25 year career during which he has made 10 feature films and has always been very open about acknowledging his influences. If the Zindel family has questions about this original work we welcome a conversation with them.'