This article originally appeared in the June 18, 1975 issue of the Miami Phoenix.
Steven Spielberg, the director of "Jaws," was recently in town to promote the film and the following conversation with THE MIAMI PHOENIX ensued.
MP: "Jaws" seems to be a terrifying movie. Was your intention to make it that way?
SS: I shot the movie to both entertain and to be fearful. But the movie doesn't say "If you go into the water - you'll get eaten by a shark."
>> REVIEW: Jaws (1975) by Janet Maslin <<
MP: I'm surprised the hotel owners on Miami Beach haven't tried to stop the film from being shown here. Or have they?
SS: Actually they should be excited. It may keep some people out of the water but they'll head for the bar.
MP: What do you think about Jacques Cousteau's criticisms of the story? He seems vehement that sharks don't behave that way.
SS: All I can say is, if he hated the book - wait til he sees the movie! Not much is really known about sharks. I studied a lot about them before I began the movie. And there are hundreds of reported incidents about shark attacks. The number is relatively few in an overall sense but they did happen. Did you know for instance that sharks can seemingly smell out of the water? I mean there was an incident reported where two men were in a small boat after a shipwreck and one of them was badly hurt and had been bleeding a lot and it had dried on his arm and begun to stink. But they had been very careful not to throw anything or allow anything to drop overboard. But because of the smell, the sharks began to attack the boat.
MP: How long did it take to actually shoot the film?
SS: We shot for seven months. It was supposed to be five but we ran into a lot of problems, especially the weather. The film was made totally on the ocean because I felt the added realism was important. But it did make the shooting harder than it would have been in a studio tank. The realism was very important to me. At one point it was suggested to use sensaround but I vetoed the idea because the movie isn't a ripoff, it's not a gimmick. Even though we used Bruce, 70 percent of the actual shark footage was of real sharks.
MP: Were you actually involved in the in-the-water stuff?
SS: I was at the water daily in a wet suit. But I'm not really an ocean lover. I've always been a little afraid of the ocean.
MP: Do you have any advice for would-be directors?
SS: Yes, unless you're thinking about film making at night and obsessed by it during the day, don't.
MP: Do you have any idea what will be next for you?
SS: I'm doing a science fiction film, sort of science fiction with a personal touch that I've written and will be directing for Columbia Pictures.