T R I V I A

Steven Spielberg wanted Sterling Hayden for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden's income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn't subject to levy) for a large sum. It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw was cast instead.

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During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends George Lucas and John Milius visited the effects shop where Bruce the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark's mouth to see how it worked, and as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas' head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they'd done major damage to the creature.

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Charlton Heston was considered for the role of Chief Brody. Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Jon Voight, and Jan-Michael Vincent were considered for the role of Hooper.

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Author Peter Benchley's choices for whom to cast in the film: Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.

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The live shark footage was shot at Seal Rocks, Australia. A real white pointer was cut up and "extended" for the close-up shots.

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When Jaws attacks Hooper's cage, there's live footage of a real Great White with a rope hanging from its mouth. This shark's mouth is clearly much smaller than Jaws' mouth when it attacks the boat moments later. These scenes were filmed by noted shark photographers Ron Taylor and Valerie Taylor specifically for the movie. Because the Great White sharks they filmed would be smaller than the mechanical shark in the movie, they constructed a smaller version of Hooper's shark cage. Inside the cage they alternately used a small mannequin or a little person. One of the sharks they attracted got caught in the cage's cables and tore it apart trying to escape. The footage was so good that they changed the script to reflect the destroyed cage and Hooper escaping by hiding on the ocean floor. However, the small person used in the scene refused to go back in the miniature cage, which was damaged in the incident.

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Quint's boathouse set was built in Martha's Vineyard on an abandoned lot. The city council made the production crew sign an agreement to demolish it after filming and replace everything exactly as it had been - right down to the litter.

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Preview audiences screamed when the head of a shark victim appears in the hole in the bottom of the boat. Director Steven Spielberg re-shot the scene in editor Verna Fields swimming pool because he wanted them to "scream louder".

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Author Peter Benchley was thrown off the set after objecting to the climax.

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Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, was used as Amity Island primarily because even 12 miles out to sea, the sandy bottom was only 30 feet down, allowing the mechanical shark to function. Residents were paid $64 to scream and run across the beach as extras.

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The first shark killed on the docks which is supposed to be the "man-eater" in the movie is actually a real shark killed in Florida because there wasn't a big enough one in Martha's Vineyard.

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Brody's dog in the movie was actually Steven Spielberg's real dog.

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The mechanical shark spent most of the movie broken-down, and was unavailable for certain shots. This led Steven Spielberg to use the camera as the "shark", and film from the shark's point of view. Many think this added to the "chilling/haunting" quality in the final release saying that it would have made it too "cheesy" had they shown the shark as much as originally planned.

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When Roy Scheider was trapped in the sinking Orca, it took 75 takes to get the shot right. Scheider did not trust the special effects team to rescue him in case of an emergency so he hid axes and hatchets around the cabin just in case.

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After the shark was built, it was never tested in the water, and when it was put in the water at Martha's Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor. It took a team of divers to retrieve it.

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The lighthouse in the film near the beach is an actual lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard where the filming took place. Because of the billboard in the scene, the lighthouse had to be "moved" with special effects in postproduction

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Steven Spielberg named the shark "Bruce" after his lawyer.

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In the actual Jersey Beach shark attacks of 1916 (which Hooper mentions in the film), the sequence of attacks is similar to that of the film: a swimmer in the surf; a dog; a boy; and the leg of a man in a tidal slough.

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This was the first movie to reach the coveted $100 million mark.

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Robert Shaw could not stand Richard Dreyfuss and they argued all the time, which resulted in some good tension between Hooper and Quint.

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The average summer tourist population of Martha's Vineyard before the film was released was approximately 5,000 people. After it came out, the population ballooned to 15,000.

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Cameo: [Peter Benchley] reporter on the beach.

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The movie's line "You're gonna need a bigger boat." was voted as the #35 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

(IMDB.COM)


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