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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.