Steven Spielberg truly regrets 'Jaws' influence on shark population - Los Angeles News

Los Angeles, Dec 19 (IANS) Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg "truly regrets" making 'Jaws' as he believes it drove a frenzy of shark killings.

by IANS | Updated Dec 19, 2022

Steven Spielberg truly regrets 'Jaws' influence on shark population - Los Angeles News

The director, 76, who made his name with the 1975 fish horror about a bloodthirsty Great White terrorizing a U.S. resort, added he hates the idea it painted sharks as man-eaters, reports

He told Radio 4's Desert Island Discs he fears "sharks are somehow mad at me," and said "I really truly regret that" about the spate of shark killings by fish hunters in aftermath of Jaws' release.

He added the film was partly to blame for a "feeding frenzy" of "crazy fisherman which happened after 1975," saying, "I truly, and to this day, regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film."

'Jaws' was based on a 1974 book of the same name written by Peter Benchley, who went on to become a shark conservationist. Experts say the novel and Steven's film led to professional and amateur fishermen and game hunters swarming to target sharks as trophies.

" 'Jaws' was a turning point for great white sharks," Oliver Crimmen, fish curator at the Natural History Museum in London, told BBC in 2015.

"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."

George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, said "thousands" of fishers set out to catch trophy sharks following the thriller's debut.

"You didn't have to have a fancy boat or gear," Burgess said. "An average Joe could catch big fish, and there was no remorse, since there was this mindset that they were man-killers."

Speilberg conceded that there was manipulation on his part in the radio interview.

"A filmmaker must never manipulate the audience unless every single scene has a jack-in-the-box kind of scare," he said.

"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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