“I said ‘I’m in the movie,’ and the guy on the gate said 'Yeah sure, me too' ”

Veteran character actor Richard Jenkins (70), who shared the screen with Newman and Pacino, is finally ready for the limelight

Official trailer for The Shape of Water.

It’s the morning after the London premiere of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, and Richard Jenkins – one of that film’s stars – is still marvelling at the quality of the project. “Oh boy,” he says, with a little shake of the head. “It’s just this beautiful story, shot in an incredible way, and made by a genius.” He smiles: “That’s all.”

Del Toro’s cold war interspecies romance was nominated for 13 Oscars, including a nod for Jenkins as Best Supporting Actor. It’s the 70-year-old’s second shot at Hollywood’s premiere competition; he was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2008 for The Visitor (ultimately losing out to Sean Penn in Milk).

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