Writing the Film Jaws
The Universal producers David Brown and Richard Zanuck when bought the film rights of the Jaws novel promissed to auther of the book Peter Benchley to write the scripr of the film. Peter Benchley wrote three different drafts of the script and announced to producers that “I’m writting out on this, and that is the best I can do”. Also, during the principal photography of film Peter Benchley returned and played the part of a young reporter.
Steven Spielberg’s approach to Jaws adaption (from book to screen)
Steven Spileberg wanted to follow the base concept and storyline of Jaws book, and he wanted to avoid confusion to audience by filming sub - plots of the book. Steven Spielberg liked the final part of the book “the shark hunt” and his idea was to use the main storyline of the book and base the first two acts of the film on original screenplay and follow the book only at the third act.
Steven Spielberg wanted to remove the book’s sub plot about the love afair of police officers wife Ellen Broody with Matt Hooper (marine biologist).
Steven Spielberg wanted to avoid the project to be dark and just a sea adventure. He wanted the film characters to be belivable, alive and to capture the iterest of the audience. Spielberg wanted to polish the screenplay of jaws. He approached the scrennwriter John Byrun, but he refused to participate then he approached the makers of “Columbo” William Link and Richard Levinson but they refuse, too.
Finally, Howard Sackler (a Pulitzer price winner) and Sugarland Express writers Mathew Robinson and Hal Banwood offered an uncredited rewrite to Jaws script. Also, as I have already mentioned Steven Spielberg wanted to add jokes and humour in film, there was a need to avoid making a dark marine thriller / adventure. Steven Spielberg’s offer to Cottlieb was to make changes in script and if he wanted to play a part / role in the film. Carl Cottlieb, agreed and he contributed to the project firstly by accepting “a one week dialogue polish” deal, which finally turned to be a nine - week script rewriting project during the period of film’s principal photography.
The meals with Gottlieb and the other members of crew and cast
Actually the script of each scene was discussed before the shot, each night during the period of principal photography the next day’s programmed to film scene was resented and was discussed for what would go into the film. Actually a large number of dialogue originated from actor’s inspirations during these meals and on the set few new lines of dialogue where created, as Roy Scheider’s line “You’ ve gonna need a bigger boat”.
Steven Spielberg’s Screenplay draft
According to Steven Spielberg :Interviews, the film director had prepared also his own draft script, but he can not find any reliable information on the degree that influence the other screenplay writers.
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