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15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

Dive in to the 1975 shark classic.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws
04 July 2022

It might be over 45 years old but Jaws remains one of the most terrifying movies ever made. Even if the effects might appear slightly dated in comparison to today’s CGI wizardry, the collective power of those dead eyes, superb editing and that theme tune has not subsided.

Jaws is considered by many to be the first-ever summer blockbuster - a film that was the first to hit $100 million at the box office. Not bad for what's essentially a horror movie, where the serial killer shark gets a mere 4 minutes' screen time.

You might have seen it countless times but there are probably still a few little bits of trivia you didn’t know. Like these, for example...

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

1. Jon Voight, Joel Grey and Jeff Bridges were all considered for the role of Hooper, which eventually went to Richard Dreyfus

2. The film’s budget was originally set at $3.5 million, but that swelled to $9 million by the end of production. Its box office total currently stands at $471 million.

3. The famous line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was an ad-lib by Roy Scheider.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

4. The shark was famously known as Bruce, after Spielberg’s lawyer, but its other nickname was ‘The Great White Turd’ which Spielberg only used when really angry.

5. Brody’s dog in the film was played by Spielberg’s dog, Elmer.

6. The model shark wasn’t tested in water before production. When it was eventually placed in the ocean it swiftly sank to the floor.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

7. During shooting on a scene aboard the Orca, the boat sank. The camera was submerged in water, potentially destroying the film, but after rushing it to New York the footage was saved.

8. Robert Shaw struggled with drinking throughout the shoot. He drank during his pivotal speech about the USS Indianapolis and none of the footage was useable. Chastened, he phoned Spielberg and asked if he could have another try. The next day he nailed the speech in one take.

9. The scheduled 55 days to completely principal photography ballooned to an enormous 159 days.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

10. Other names considered for the novel were A Silence in the Deep, Leviathan Rising, The Stillness in the Water, Jaws of Death and Jaws of Leviathan.

11. Spielberg originally wanted to introduce Quint in a cinema watching Moby Dick, laughing so much at the poor effects that the audience walked out. The kibosh was put on this by Gregory Peck, the star of Moby Dick, as he owned the rights and was so disappointed with his performance that he didn’t want anyone to see it again.

12. Lee Fierro, who plays the bereaved Mrs Kintner, couldn’t fake the scene where she slaps Brody, so Roy Scheider was socked across the face repeatedly

13. Hooper had his fate re-written by a shark. While filming footage of a real great white attacking a cage (containing a small actor for scale) the shark became entangled in a rope and smashed the cage to bits. Spielberg liked the footage so much that he re-wrote the scene to have Hooper escape during the cage's destruction.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaws

14. In order to make actress Susan Backlinie, the shark's first victim, look like she was being pulled around underwater she had a rope tied to either side of her. Two men on the shore would pull the ropes in turn while she thrashed about, to give the effect of the shark attacking her.

15. Charlton Heston was considered for the role of Brody. When Spielberg decided to go with another actor Heston was reportedly so furious that he refused to ever work with the director.