I regret negative impact ‘Jaws’ had on sharks
Steven Spielberg caused quite a feeding frenzy.
The director and film producer said Sunday that he regrets the negative impact his 1975 film “Jaws” had on the shark populations.
“I truly and to this day regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film,” said Spielberg, 76. “I really, truly regret that.”
Spielberg, who was a guest on BBC’s “Desert Island Discs,” joked that he believes the world’s shark population is mad at him.
“That’s one of the things I still fear,” he said. “Not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sports fishermen that happened after 1975.”
The film is set in the fictional New England town of Amity Island, which is terrorized by a gargantuan great white shark forcing three townsfolk to pit themselves against the beast.
Research has suggested that the film contributed to a shark population decline around the US.
“‘Jaws’ was a turning point for great white sharks,” said Oliver Crimmen, fish curator at the Natural History Museum in London said in a 2015 interview with the BBC. “I actually saw a big change happen in the public and scientific perception of sharks when Peter Benchley’s book ‘Jaws’ was published and then subsequently made into a film.”
According to a Florida state official, “thousands” of residents of the state took to trying to catch trophy sharks after the book and film were released.
In NYC, one company even offers tours priced at $1,400 for a seven-hour sharking excursion.
“Knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today,” author Peter Benchley said in an interview before his death in 2006. “Sharks don’t target human beings, and they certainly don’t hold grudges.”
“A filmmaker must never manipulate the audience unless every single scene has a jack-in-the-box kind of scare,” stated Spielberg. “That’s manipulation. I did that a couple of times in ‘Poltergeist’ and I certainly did it once in ‘Jaws’, where the head comes out of the hole. That’s okay, I confess that.”
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