“Jaws” co-writer Carl Gottlieb discusses the legacy of Universal

JAWS Car Gottlieb Headshot

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When Carl Gottlieb was asked by Steven Spielberg to redraft his script for “Jaws,” he likely had no idea how big a cultural phenomenon the film would become. But now, 37 years later, he’s happy to reflect back on the most successful movie of his career in light of its debut on Blu-Ray August 14.

“You never know in advance. You find out afterwards. In some respect, it’s almost like a live performance,” Gottlieb told IFC when we spoke to him at the press day for the Blu-Ray release. “In film, when it’s locked, if it’s good, you don’t really know how good it is until it’s played for a few million people, and then after the fact you go, ‘Oh my god, we created at least a pop culture icon, if not a work of art.’ It’s not the ‘Mona Lisa,’ it’s not the cure for cancer, but it is one of the most popular movies ever, so there’s that.”

There certainly is that. Gottlieb, who also plays Meadows in the film, went on to write the book “The Jaws Log” about the movie’s long, difficult journey through production. That book and “Jaws” itself are things that modern filmmakers like Bryan Singer have looked back on to help them in their own careers.

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“The ‘Jaw Log’ puts the process in context,” Gottlieb said. “When you put it into the larger context of the history of movies and how everything that we do is built on the foundation laid by people who came before us, there’s not anything startling or revolutionary was done in ‘Jaws,’ but a number of things were done either for the first time or done as well as they could be done, given the technology of the time.”

In fact, what’s interesting about the production of “Jaws” is that the way Spielberg made the film is very different from how movies are made today. The lack of CGI meant that Spielberg could only rely on mechanical effects. The studio system and acting process were very different than how they are today. And yet there’s something to be gleaned from how Spielberg went on to make his masterpiece.

Part of that can be attributed to Spielberg’s meticulousness. Since they couldn’t use CGI to, say, erase a boat in the background of a shot being filmed on location in Nantucket Sound, Spielberg and his crew had to wait for it to sail out of frame. That’s likely why the movie ended up being over time and budget by the end of its production.

“That wasn’t the technology of the time so they made due with what they had and with Steven’s insistence on the guys have to be alone. We can’t see land and we can’t see boats, because otherwise why don’t they just turn around and get help?” Gottlieb explained. “So that’s an aesthetic decision that creates production problems but when you stay true to the decision, you wind up with a product that works for the audience.”

“Jaws” is a movie that has remained popular long after its release, which is part of the reason Universal chose to honor it with a Blu-Ray remastering during the studio’s 100-year anniversary. As “The Shark Is Still Working” producer J. Michael Roddy told IFC, the film created the summer blockbuster. We asked Gottlieb why he thinks “Jaws” is something that’s stood the test of time.

“The problems are pretty much the same that everybody faces in their life,” he said. “These three very different people have to cooperate or die because their enemy is this implacable villain who can’t be reasoned with, who can’t be outguessed because it only does one thing, and in the case of ‘Jaws,’ it’s keep after their ass. So these are really timeless elements.”

He continued, “All these elements are kind of universal. They’re constant. I mean, you could set the film on a beach in the Black Sea resort, you could do it in Cape Town, South Africa, you could do it in South Asia. If those elements are all present, the story is universal, and that’s what great stories are: they appeal to everybody across time, and ‘Jaws’ does that.”

“Jaws” is due out on Blu-Ray this Tuesday.

Do you plan on buying “Jaws” on Blu-Ray when it comes out? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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