Sally Hawkins admits Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers inspired her performance in 'The Shape of Water'.

The 41-year-old actress' latest movie is a homage to the silver screen, and Sally has confessed that she was ''obsessed'' with the iconic duo during her youth.

She shared: ''Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were what I watched as a child. I mean, I was obsessed.''

Sally plays the part of Elisa - a cleaning lady at a US government scientific research facility - in the new movie.

And she's cited Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton as some of the other big influences on her career.

Speaking in relation to her new Guillermo del Toro-directed film, Sally told the Daily Mail newspaper: ''Guillermo was using those silent films as a source for Elisa - and as far back as I can remember, those same films were big in my life.

''Guillermo and I talked a lot about Elisa having this music in her head, and she dances through life until love takes over her heart ... and sort of explodes.''

The director first made contact with Sally long before he finally cast her in the Oscar-nominated movie.

And Sally is thankful is that he is so ''loyal'' towards performers like herself.

She explained: ''I came to understand that once Guillermo has a set idea, and a vision, and knows who he wants, he's very loyal and you feel like you're part of his family for ever.''

But despite the success of the movie, Sally is refusing to get carried away, admitting her fortunes could quickly change.

The actress conceded: ''You're only as good as the last thing you did.''