At this point, Steven Spielberg has directed so many movies that it must be almost effortless for him.
But of course, that wasn’t always the case.
Spielberg’s third feature film was the now classic “Jaws.” In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg said making the horror masterpiece was a scarring experience. While riding around the Universal Studios lot, Spielberg said he would come there a lot after making “Jaws.”
“I used to come out for a couple of years after I made the movie to get over my PTSD,” Spielberg told EW. “I would work through my own trauma, because it was traumatic. I would just sit in that boat alone for hours, just working through, and I would shake. My hands would shake.”
The disastrous shoot of “Jaws” has become the stuff of legend.
It went over budget and over schedule, while the mechanical shark kept malfunctioning. And while the experience was tumultuous, it led to nothing but good things for Spielberg. “Jaws” became the highest grossing film of all time until “Star Wars” beat it out two years later. It arguably ushered in the era of the summer blockbuster.
Plus, the issues with the shark ended up being a positive: because it didn’t work, Spielberg decided to show less of it. Most of the movie’s terror is based on the fact that you rarely see the shark pop out of the water.
While a shoot that difficult can usually ruin a young director’s career, its eventual success gave him unprecedented power in Hollywood.
“The experience gave me complete freedom for the rest of my career,” Spielberg concluded. “The amount of success the film enjoyed just gave me final cut, gave me the chance to tell my own stories.”
The lesson here: if you can make a broken mechanical shark useful, then you can do just about anything.
Read the full piece here. Spielberg’s latest film, “The BFG,” will be out in theatres on July 1.
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