DID YOU READ

15 Monster-Sized Facts About Jaws

JAWS, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, 1975

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Steven Spielberg’s monster fish tale became an instant classic following its 1975 release—and the story of its creation is just as interesting as the film itself. Savor Jaws even more knowing these 15 fascinating tidbits.

1. The film is adapted from author Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel of the same name.

Benchley based his thriller on a series of shark attacks that occurred off the coast New Jersey in 1916 and after an incident where a New York fisherman named Frank Mundus caught a 4,500-lb. shark off the coast of Montauk in 1964. Other title ideas Benchley had before settling on Jaws were The Stillness in the Water, The Silence of the Deep, Leviathan Rising, and The Jaws of Death.


2. Benchley himself makes a cameo in the film.

He plays the news reporter who addresses the camera on the beach. Benchley had previously worked as a news reporter for the Washington Post before penning Jaws.


3. The shark doesn’t fully appear in a shot until 1 hour and 21 minutes into the 2-hour film.

While the lack of shark appearances works to heighten the film’s tension, the real reason it isn’t shown is because the mechanical shark that was built rarely worked during filming. Director Steven Spielberg had to create inventive ways (like Quint’s yellow barrels) to shoot around the non-functional shark.


4. To create the fictional town of Amity, the film shot on location in Edgartown and Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Strict land ordinances kept the production from building anywhere — Quint’s shack was the one and only set built for the movie, and the defaced Amity Island billboard had to be constructed, have the scenes around it shot, and taken down all in one day.


5. Spielberg nicknamed the shark “Bruce,” after his lawyer, Bruce Ramer.

Ramer also represents Demi Moore, Ben Stiller, and Clint Eastwood.


6. The opening sequence took three days to film.

To achieve the jolting motions of the shark attacking the swimmer, a harness with cables was attached to actress Susan Backlinie’s legs and was pulled by crewmembers back and forth along the shoreline. Spielberg didn’t alert Backlinie as to when she would be “attacked,” so her terrified reaction is genuine.


7. Richard Dreyfuss wasn’t Spielberg’s first choice to play oceanographer Matt Hooper.

Spielberg initially approached Jon Voight, Timothy Bottoms, and Jeff Bridges for the role. When none of them could commit, Spielberg’s friend George Lucas suggested Richard Dreyfuss, whom Lucas has directed in his film American Graffiti.


8. Roy Scheider was cast after eavesdropping on Spielberg at a party.

Scheider over-heard Spielberg talking to a friend at a Hollywood party about the scene where the shark leaps out of the water and onto Quint’s boat. Scheider was instantly enthralled, and asked Spielberg if he could be in the film. Spielberg loved Scheider from his role in the Academy Award winning film The French Connection, and later offered the actor the leading part of Chief Martin Brody.

9. Shaw’s performance was based on a real guy.

Shaw modeled Quint on Martha’s Vineyard native and fisherman Craig Kingsbury, a non-actor who appears as Ben Gardner in the film. Kingsbury helped Shaw with his accent and allegedly told Shaw old sea stories that the actor incorporated into his improvised dialogue as Quint.


10. Brody’s famous “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” line wasn’t in the script.

It was entirely improvised by Roy Scheider.


11. The film almost included a love triangle.

Early scripts included an affair between Hooper and Chief Brody’s wife.


12. Jaws was initially rated R by the MPAA.

After selected gruesome frames of the shot showing the severed leg of the man attacked by the shark in the estuary were trimmed down, the film was given a PG rating (the PG-13 rating wasn’t created until Spielberg’s own film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, nine years later).


13. The film’s iconic poster image was designed by artist Roger Kastel for the paperback edition of Benchley’s book.

Kastel modeled the image of the massive shark emerging from the bottom of the frame after a great white shark diorama at the American Museum of Natural History. The female swimmer at the top was actually a model that Kastel was sketching at his studio for an ad in Good Housekeeping. He asked her to stay a half-hour longer and had her pose for the image by lying on a stool and pretending to swim.


14. The sole music notes played for composer John Williams’ Jaws theme are E and F.

Jaws marked the second time Williams worked with Spielberg after his film The Sugarland Express, and Williams would go on to compose the music for every Spielberg movie up to the present.


15. Steven Spielberg didn’t direct the shot of the shark exploding.

In fact, he had already returned to Los Angeles after the film’s grueling shooting schedule to begin post-production on the film and left the shot up to the production’s second unit.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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