From an idea to a Blockbuster (Jaws Film)
The film Jaws is based on Peter Benchley's novel with the same name. Benchey was inspired by the sport fisherman Frank Mudious’s capture a gigantic shark in 1964. The character of professional shark hunter Quint, was created by Sackler when he was researching the World War II USS Indianapolis disaster. In my opinion the most dramatic scene in Jaws is the Quint’s monologue about the disaster of USS Indianapolis and the shark attacks to castaways. The plot of the novel is about a giant - man eater sharks attacks to summer swimmers in a fictional town in East cost of United States. The story line of the book has two levels of conflict - the first conflict is between the local police officer and the local business community and the Mayor of the small - island town - police officer wants to close the beach but Mayor had a different idea because summer tourism is the only revenue resource to small town. The second level of conflict is about the fight of local police man - a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter - against the giant man eating shark.
The acquisition of Jaws novel film rights
Universal pictures producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown heard about the Peter Bencley’s novel “Jaws”. Both producers read the book during a night and at the next morning they decided that Jaws is a great fictional story that can be a great film. There were also many obstacles most of them related with filming the scenes of giant - moster shark.
Finally Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown bought the film rights rights of Jaws novel in 1973 for $175.000. David Brown claimed that if they had read the Jaws twice they would never have produced the film Jaws because of the difficulty to film action scenes with a monster shark.
Choosing the director for Jaws
The first candidate on Zanuck’s and Brown’s list was veteran filmmaker John Sturges who has directed in the past the maritime adventure - “The old man and the sea”. The second candidate was Dick Richards, but he used to describe the giant man - eating shark as a whale and the team of proiducers dropped him from the project.
Finbally, Steven Spielberg who was just 26 years old and he has just directed his first theatrical fim “Sugarland Express” (I need to mention that during the period of Steven Spilberg’s selection Sugarland Express had not been released) for Universal producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown. The first project of Steven Spielberg was the TV movie Duel.
Steven Spielberg loved the idea of Jaws but he feared also to be typecast as a “truck and shark director”. Finally and hopefully for us the fans and students of horror films and cinema Steven Spielberg was convinced to direct Jaws. Producer David Brown convinced the young film - director to direct the film project by saying to him, “after Jaws you can make any film you want”. After three decades, we can say that David Brown was so true and so correct about his decision and his idea about Steven Spielberg and the following Spielberg’s film projects.