Photos: Steven Spielberg in the mouth of “Jaws”

Spielberg on “Jaws”

Jaws Steven Spielberg: “It’s really a movie about our fear of the water,” observed Steven Spielberg. “When you’re out swimming and turn to tread water, half of your body is under the surface and you can’t keep tabs on what’s happening down there around your feet.” Making the principle photography a complicated endeavor was the decision to film in a real setting. “I wouldn’t want to do it in a tank because it wouldn’t be believable, especially today when pictures like The French Connection [1971] and Midnight Cowboy [1969] are shot in a documentary style, on location.” To effectively portray the live action, the filmmaker had a specific place in mind. “The real attraction of Martha’s Vineyard was the fact that it was the only place on the East Coast where I could go twelve miles out to sea and still have a sandy bottom only thirty feet below the surface of the water, where the mechanical shark could function.” There was a significant creative reason for selecting the location. “It was very important that, no matter where my cameras turned, I didn’t want to see land. My fear was the minute the audience saw land they’d say, ‘Look, it is getting pretty intense out there, just turn the boat around and go toward that land we keep seeing in your movie!’”

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