“I could do a much better job… If you let me have a few drinks”: Steven Spielberg Revealed Iconic Jaws Speech Was Done Drunk, Said Actor Was “Too Far Gone”

Steven Spielberg Revealed Iconic Jaws Speech Was Done Drunk, Said Actor Was “Too Far Gone”

Much before James Cameron showed the world horrors of the ocean through his Titanic in 1997, Steven Spielberg took his camera deep into the waters to capture an epic battle between man and nature for the movie Jaws.

The 1975 thriller was the first major motion picture to be shot on the ocean. It not only proved to be the breakthrough movie of the iconic filmmaker’s career, but it also paved the way for Hollywood to explore stories in a completely new setting. The movie made $260 million at the box office, emerging as the highest-grossing film ever at the time, and is still considered one of the best movies to watch among fans of the horror genre.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.

When it comes to iconic movies, there’s always plenty of curiosity with regard to the making of the film. In the case of Jaws, fans continue to wonder how the scene depicting the iconic Indianapolis speech came about.

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Read more: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”: Inside Joke on Steven Spielberg’s Dangerous ‘Jaws’ Set Led To One of the Film’s Most Iconic Improvised Lines

How Steven Spielberg Filmed the Famous Speech in the Jaws Movie

The movie focuses on a police officer, a marine scientist, and a fisherman’s mission to take on a white shark that had left many lives tattered in the ocean and terrorized the inhabitants of Amity Island. Ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) lends a helping hand to Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and kick-starts the engrossing fight between man and the fierce face of nature.

Robert Shaw as Quint in Steven Spielberg's Jaws
Robert Shaw as Quint in Jaws.

Typically, in thrilling tales, the most memorable scenes are the action sequences where the hero faces off against the villain. However, in the case of Jaws – which is also filled with nail-biting and bloody moments – fans often are left stunned by the three protagonists sitting around a table on their ship and sharing war stories.

It turns out that the iconic scene was filmed twice; and for a very hilarious reason. Shaw, who plays the hired shark hunter, ended up being so drunk that Steven Spielberg couldn’t properly capture the first take. The director recalled:

“The first time we attempted to shoot it Robert came over to me and said, ‘You know, Steven, all three of these characters have been drinking and I think I could do a much better job in this speech if you let me actually have a few drinks before I do the speech.’ And I unwisely gave him permission. I had two cameras on the scene and we never got through the scene, he was just too far gone.”

Shaw managed to deliver his monologue properly the next time and ended up permanently etching his voice in the heads of dedicated fans of Jaws. Having said that, we are pretty sure many fans would absolutely love to watch Shaw’s scene filmed in a drunk state.

Read more: “Most of us will never experience war”: Not Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg Chose to Trust God of War Actor to Save His $482M Movie From Getting Too Violent

What’s the Context Behind the Iconic Speech in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

In the scene, the trio, in the middle of nowhere on a crumbling ship and with the enemy still out of their reach, try to find a moment of peace by getting drunk. One by one they start sharing horrifying tales, and when Quint’s turn comes, he brings a real story to the table. The story of the greatest tragedy in the history of the U.S. Navy.

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg.

The monologue, which is brilliantly directed by Spielberg, captures Shaw’s character talking about the USS Indianapolis – a heavy cruiser that was sunk by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945. It had more than 1,000 sailors and marines on board.

Many died on impact, and the ones who survived had to jump into the ocean to get away from fires. Sadly, there they encountered sharks. Only 316 survived the horrific incident.

Read more: “This was exactly the way the Statue of Liberty was built”: Steven Spielberg Brought His Dinosaurs to Life Using One Insane Method That Left Jackie Chan Speechless

Source: Ain’t It Cool

Written by Vishal Singh

An experienced content writer, Vishal juggles his time between analyzing players on the pitch and stars on the big screen.