Considered the start of the era of the blockbuster, there’s a lot to the production of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. With quite a handful of trivia to bring to you folks, I knew this one would be rad. Dip your toes in, friends!
1. The shark, during pre-production, was named Bruce. Steven Spielberg named the shark Bruce after his lawyer. This little tid-bit is the reason the shark from Finding Nemo is also named Bruce. We love a good easter egg, right?
2. Speaking of Spielberg, he had once stated that, upon reading the book the movie is based on, he had kind of hoped the shark would be the winner. Why? He felt the lead characters were difficult to connect with and wholly unlikable.
3. The sound of drowning was simulated in post-production by sitting someone down, tilting their head back and slowly pouring water down their throat to make them sputter and cough. Those poor souls, at the very least, were incredibly hydrated.
4. Robert Shaw was flown to Canada on his days off to avoid IRS tax problems while he was filming on the set. You’d think you’d just find another actor – but no – it had to be Shaw, and his unforgettable performance bears that out.
5. Shooting the film from the ocean, rather than on a set with a tank, was far more complex than Spielberg and the producers expected. Between lighting complications, Coast Guard boats wandering into shots and choppy water ruining scenes, it was a hot mess to work through. All of them have said, repeatedly, they’d never do it again. Hell, Spielberg even tried to convince Kevin Costner to bow out of Waterworld, citing Jaws as the reason.
6. Peter Benchley, the novelist that the film is adapted from, appears in the movie as a journalist. He was quite a fan of the movie, if you were curious.
7. Quint’s boathouse was constructed in Martha’s Vineyard, but only after the production company promised and signed contracts that they would remove every single thing they built on the lot – and returned everything as it was before they constructed the set. I’m not kidding. They even had to return the trash they had cleaned up from the lot.
8. You can find a special episode of Mythbusters that tests different situations from Jaws. I won’t spoil what they experiment with, but you should definitely give it a look.
9. Neither Quint nor Hooper had been cast as soon as a week out of the first scene being filmed. It was down to the wire before they finally had no choice but to get contracts signed. Can you imagine working with that kind of deadline?
10. The shark is listed as the eighteenth greatest villain in the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest Heroes & Villains. It just makes me wonder how lame you have to be, villain-wise, to let a shark overtake you. Get it together, bad guys!