One of the most important characters in the 1975 masterpiece is Hooper, the oceanographer, but Spielberg's original picks for the role turned it down, as told in BLOCKBUSTER.
When Steven Spielberg finally landed JAWS, his "big winner," as he called it, he faced an uphill battle.
He was an unknown filmmaker with a big budget film, and he needed actors who could do the job — and preferably with a bit of name recognition.
As detailed in BLOCKBUSTER Episode II: The Shark, Spielberg originally wanted Jon Voight for the role of Hooper, but Voight wasn't interested.
Another option was Jeff Bridges, who was better known then as the little brother of actor Beau Bridges.
Luckily, he had a friend in George Lucas, who had a suggestion: Richard Dreyfuss.
Dreyfuss had starred in AMERICAN GRAFFITI alongside Ron Howard, and his star was quickly rising in Hollywood. Lucas convinced Spielberg that Dreyfuss had been a pleasure to work with on GRAFFITI, and Spielberg wouldn't be disappointed.
Dreyfuss was offered the role, but he declined, much to Spielberg's disappointment. Then, he called back to accept the role, and he would work with Spielberg on his next film as well, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
The creative relationship and long-running friendship between Spielberg and Lucas is explored in detail in BLOCKBUSTER. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, as well as Spotify and all other podcast platforms.
BLOCKBUSTER has been painstakingly researched, compiled and referenced from thousands of sources, and details many of the events that led to the creation of JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and STAR WARS — and the very idea of "the blockbuster" film.
It's a story too incredible not to be told, with the richest, most immersive sound design ever created.
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