Directed by Steven Spielberg, this man vs. nature plot follows a trio of characters who set out to sea in order to catch a great white shark that has been attacking beachgoers near the fictional Amity Island. And, of course, it’s now recognized among movie fans not only as one of the greatest projects the silver screen has ever seen, but also as the predecessor to blockbusters.

The public spent the summer of ’75 avoiding the beaches altogether after seeing them Jaws (1975), which took in $476.5 million at the worldwide box office from a budget of $9 million. These numbers of success are fairly well known throughout the medium as a whole. But over the years, many behind-the-scenes and post-production tidbits have gone down. Here are ten things you probably didn’t know JawsRank.

10 It is based on a book

Universal Pictures

Starting the list with a more common fun fact, some movie fans may not realize Jaws It was actually adapted from the novel of the same name. The book was released in 1974 by author Peter Benchley, who co-adapted the script for the movie At Hand. And there are a few other tidbits of the screenwriter and screenwriter’s behind-the-scenes time.

After wanting to change the climax of the film, the writer was kicked off the set. It is worth noting that Benchley had already painted himself in a negative light by filling the story with subplots of romance and gang involvement, possibly drawing inspiration from earlier American hits from that decade such as The Godfather (1972). It is likely that he was eventually fired for the better.

9 The animatronics are off

Orca in Jaws
Universal Pictures

The production of Jaws was somewhat problematic throughout, from scriptwriting and earnings to set design and, of course, principal photography. One of the biggest sources of stress for everyone involved was the flawed design of the animatronic shark. Some improvisation resulted, as Spielberg was forced to think of ways to create suspense without the on-screen shark. So, in the text it was written that the characters shoot the shark with a harpoon, and a barrel is attached to the other end.

Related: Every movie in the Jaws franchise, ranked

This allowed Spielberg to create a final suspense just by filming some barrels floating across the ocean, with audiences assuming they implied imminent doom. There were already three machines built, each with specialized functions. One shark was open on the right side, one was open on the left side, and the last one was all skinned. And it cost nearly $250,000 to make each shark—at that price, one would think the machines would actually be waterproof.

8 Spielberg almost quit

Universal Pictures

It’s worth noting that a few other directors were in the running before Spielberg, and the first consideration was John Sturgess. Known for Hollywood mega hits like The Seven Wonders (1960) and The Great Escape (1963), Sturges was a perfect fit. And this seems especially true when considering one of his projects in particular: The old man and the sea (1958).

They also offered the position to a budding film director named Dick Richards, who is making his debut with his first feature film –Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972) – one year before the show. Of course, the producers eventually landed on Spielberg. But the director has had a stressful experience, to say the least. He nearly quit on multiple occasions, wanting to shift his focus to a film called lucky lady (1975). Fortunately for movie fans around the world, Spielberg stuck around.

7 The shark has had many names

Roy Cheddar fights a shark in Jaws
Universal Pictures

On set, the crew gives the animatronic shark a nickname: Bruce. Named after Spielberg’s attorney at the time, Bruce Ramer, the name was technically ported to the counterpart of the fictional shark character. Some sources even state that the shark character of the same name is in the Pixar animated outing Finding Nemo (2002) was based on the creature at hand. Or, at least, they were inspired by it.

Related: Jaws: How a masterpiece spawned a terrible franchise

But to a certain corner of the movie fanatic, this name is fairly well known. What you might not know is that Spielberg, under his breath, would affectionately refer to the mechanical fish as the “great white turd” whenever a glitch occurred during filming. Thus, the pseudonym Bruce Shark was born.

6 Its crew was almost completely different

Brody, Quint, and Hopper in Jaws
Universal Pictures

Jaws is similarly popular as the movie itself, with Roy Scheider playing police chief Martin Brody. And in tracking down the shark at the center of the plot, Brody enlists the help of two buddies: a marine biologist named Matt Hooper, and a professional shark fisherman named Quint. The former was photographed by Richard Dreyfuss, while Quint’s photographer was Robert Shaw. However, both of these roles were up in the air during pre-production, with the studio considering several other roles before landing these two performers.

Actors who nearly portrayed Quint are Robert Duvall, Charlton Heston, Lee Marvin (who passed away before filming), and Sterling Hayden (who also passed away). As for Hopper, though: Jon Voight almost donned his bifocals, along with Timothy Bottoms, Jean-Michael Vincent, Kevin Kline, Joel Gray, and Jeff Bridges. This last casting in particular was great to watch, but it’s safe to say that in the end, the stage casting worked out for the better.

5 It was the first major film to be shot in the ocean

1975 American thriller Jaws
Universal Pictures

before release JawsNo motion picture has ever been entirely captured at sea. Shooting on location in this regard led to many delays, with many random sailboats wandering into the shots, for example. But the cameras were also flooding right and left, and the movie boat “The Orca” actually sank a time or two. These complications led to additional budget increases that left the studio somewhat dissatisfied.

Its budget was initially $4 million, but it increased to $9 million before filming was completed. The principal photography stage was so mournful for everyone involved that Spielberg even joked that his next project would be shot on land so dry that “there would be no bathroom scene”. He’s mostly stayed true to this, like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is set entirely on Earth. But there was actually a bathroom scene thrown into the mix.

4 Spielberg laughed at John Williams’ score

Jaws by Steven Spielberg
Universal Pictures

When John Williams—the most famous single film composer of all time—presented the now world-famous score to Spielberg, the latter thought he was joking. After all, the score is only two notes long, and Williams captured the essence of it via the piano. But of course, in the end, the final score was recorded with a trumpet.

The sound was designed to create suspense within the audience, to convey a sense of impending doom with the shark lurking under the frame. Without a doubt, this goal has been achieved. This is now one of the most respected shades in the entire industry, as it is not only attractive, but has several meanings behind waves: the inconsiderate nature of human beings as a whole.

3 Shaw was frequently transferred to Canada

Robert Shaw at Jaws
Universal Pictures

If Robert Shaw remains in the US for too long during the course of filming, he will face tax liability. Jaws It is famously photographed around Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, obviously in the US. So on his days off, Robert Shaw would fly to Canada to avoid any complications with his taxes.

Spielberg took an extra hundred days out of the fifty-five days, leading him to believe he was going to be blacklisted from Hollywood. Shaw having to fly to Canada wasn’t as detrimental to the schedule as one might think. But the American actor caused trouble for the set that could have ended the production altogether.

2 Robert Shaw’s drinking caused tension on the set

Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws
Universal Pictures

Throughout the plot, a continuing trend is the palpable tension between Quint and Hooper. And inadvertently creating a strong sense of realism were the actors behind those fictional characters, with Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss constantly feuding. Mostly, this was due to Shaw’s heavy drinking, which made him responsible for wasting film stock when he slipped in a simple line of dialogue.

Dreyfuss at one point during filming threw Shaw’s drink into the ocean, tired of wasting the cast and crew’s time. Shaw was even drunk in the first several takes of his famous monologue, hoping to create more realism given that the characters were legitimately drunk in the scene. But the footage was unusable. He then asked Spielberg for one last shot, which the director agreed to. And the next day, Shaw nailed his monologue in one take.

1 The production sparked a behind-the-scenes trend for Spielberg

Jaws finale
Universal Pictures

Production has begun Jaws It was so daunting for everyone involved that Spielberg was legitimately concerned that his crew was preparing to throw him overboard on the last day of filming. Hence, he did not attend. It wasn’t Spielberg who commanded the final sequence of the shark being blown to bits, though the decision to blast Bruce through propane tanks in the finale was actually his idea.

This scene is among the most famous finales in all of cinema – and is undoubtedly the right call by Spielberg. It’s just a miracle the crew accomplished without his presence. And as legend has it, he skips his last shots to this day.


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