Winner of three Oscars® and the highest grossing film of its time, Jaws was a phenomenon, and this is the story of how, in 1974, 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley’s #1 bestselling novel into the classic film it became. Hired by Spielberg as a co-screenwriter (with Benchley), Carl Gottlieb was on the set with the director throughout the often frantic production. Soon after, with Spielberg’s and Benchley’s cooperation, he chronicled the extraordinary adventure in The Jaws Log, beginning in 1971 when Doubleday signed up Benchley’s novel for $7,500 from a four-page outline, its pre-publication monster paperback sale to Bantam two years later, which immediately triggered the sale to Hollywood producers, the adaptation process, pre-production, casting, principle photography on location in Martha’s Vineyard, editing and post-production in Hollywood, and its Universal Studios launch.
Fast-paced, eye-opening, even comedic at times, Gottlieb describes in detail such crucial aspects as the never-before-seen special effects, the creation and secrecy surrounding the mechanical sharks, the filming of the hair-raising real shark footage, the pressures from the studio, the townspeople, the impact of the weather and the frigid Atlantic ocean waters, the early screenings and reactions, and the unexpected unprecedented results.
A fascinating look at people passionately committed to their craft, Gottlieb has created a riveting portrait of a book-to-movie in process, of the writers, producers, cast and crew, including actors Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfus—and, most of all, of young director Spielberg at work on the second feature film of his career.
Steven Soderbergh, Bryan Singer, Rod Lurie, John Landis, Steve Martin, John Krasinski, and Rob Reiner are among today’s top filmmakers who rave about The Jaws Log, calling it a must-read of anyone interested in how movies are made and the people who make them.
This expanded edition includes introductions by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, with endnotes added by Gottlieb on events and people involved in Jaws twenty-five years later. Also included a 22-page Photo Album.