That Time George Lucas Got Stuck in the Shark from Jaws

That Time George Lucas Got Stuck in the Shark from Jaws

That Time George Lucas Got Stuck in the Shark from Jaws

Jaws is easily one of the most iconic thrillers of all time. When the movie was released in the summer of 1975, it quickly became a huge hit. Jaws was especially terrifying because it preyed on a fear that most people can relate to. The thought of being attacked by a shark while trying to enjoy a day at the beach is enough to scare just about anybody. In reality, however, the infamous shark in Jaws wasn’t really a shark at all. It was actually a mechanical replica made mostly of fiberglass. While this made for a very realistic on-screen depiction, it also led to some challenges behind the scenes. One of those challenges resulted in George Lucas getting a little closer to the shark than he probably would’ve liked. Keep reading to learn more about how George Lucas got stuck in the shark from Jaws.

The Story of the Shark in Jaws

Making a movie like Jaws was a very big undertaking, especially during the 70s when there were no such thing as CGI. Initially, the production team hoped to be able to train an actual great white shark for the role, but they quickly realized that that probably wasn’t the best idea. Instead, they decided to make three realistic-looking shark replicas. The sharks were named Bruce after Steve Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer. All three sharks were designed by well-known art director Joe Alves and the models took more than three dozen people to build. At the time, the special effects used in Jaws were considered cutting edge. Many people who saw the movie in theaters were very impressed with how real it looked. Unfortunately, however, most would agree that the movie no longer has that same realistic effect. Interestingly enough, the movie was really filmed in the ocean even though no real sharks were used. This made Jaws the first major movie to be filmed at sea. Although the end result came out great, shooting on the water created several complications.

Here’s How George Ended Up In The Shark’s Mouth

Overall, the decision to use mechanical sharks was a smart move. At the end of the day, however, anything mechanical is going to have some issues. According to an article from Cinema Blend, George Lucas learned this first hand when he took a trip to the set to visit Steven Spielberg. Since Lucas is really into tech and gadgets, he knew that he wanted to get an up-close look at the shark. Little did he know, Spielberg and the rest of the crew had something in store for him. As the article stated, “Lucas found himself at the center of a prank when Spielberg and John Milius made the jaw clamp shut on poor Lucas’ head. Nevertheless, in the midst of these shenanigans, the shark once again malfunctioned and Lucas got stuck inside the shark. Thankfully, the filmmakers were able to get him out.” Needless to say, that’s one set visit that George Lucas will probably never forget.

Where Are The Sharks From Jaws Now?

Although this may be hard for some people to believe, it’s been well over 30 years since the last movie in the Jaws franchise was released. Sadly, only one of the three shark replicas still exists. He has had a very interesting journey since his days as a movie star. At one point in time, Bruce spent 15 years hanging in Universal Studios. Over time, however, Bruce started to deteriorate and it was clear that he needed a bit of a makeover. Eventually, Bruce was donated to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures where he was restored by special effects artist Greg Nicotero. Nicotero, who cites Jaws as one of the things that inspired him to get into special effects, went to work to bring Bruce back to his original glory. In an article for NPR, Nicotero said, “…we peeled all that [paint] off. But then there were a billion little stress fractures in the whole thing. So we had to Dremel all the stress fractures out and then patch everything. It was a mess.” Using old photos and mock-ups, Nicotero was able to completely repair the huge shark. Nicotero described the experience as a labor of love. Thanks to his work, people can now enjoy Bruce for generations to come. Bruce now proudly hangs in the Academy Museum in Los Angeles. On top of that, Bruce has his very own Facebook fan page with more than 11,000 followers. Unfortunately, however, the page hasn’t had any activity since 2017.Jaws

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