For the last month, I’ve been sharing a confession with my friends and family and I would like to share that story with you today because tomorrow is the 4th of July, and we are going to be open for business. It’s going to be our best summer in years. If you’re so concerned about the beaches, you two, you do whatever you have to to keep them safe, but with you or without you, those beaches will be open for this weekend.
I’m sorry. Random JAWS quote.
You see, JAWS is my favorite movie. I can’t remember the first time I saw it but I bet it was a VHS rental from the Executive Video down the road. I love everything about it. The suspense. The score. The scenes. The quotables. The Orca. The shark. And of course, those three incredible characters. It’s THE blockbuster. A perfect summer movie. A timeless classic.
It’s for all these reasons that I found myself in a panic one year ago. I was worried that someone might reboot JAWS. Let’s be clear. There are no plans to remake JAWS. Why the hell would you? It’s perfect. However, I still managed to work up quite a rage at the possible studios, directors, and actors involved with this tragic decision. Idiots! The fear was overwhelming and I knew I had to do something. I decided the most practical course of action would be to preemptively reboot JAWS myself. It was a way to face my fears.
I cleared a dry erase board and wrote down the original cast. I then gave myself the simple task of choosing a new actor who is still alive that could take on one of these crucial roles. Let’s start with Brody.
Police Chief Martin Brody is portrayed as a family man who decided to move from the city to Amity island. At the beginning of the film, he is helpless in both his fear of the water and his inability to enforce local order. By the end of the film, he shoots an air tank lodged within the sharks mouth, causing the shark to explode. All while uttering the line, “Smile, you son of a BITCH.” To me, there is only one person I would trust with such a transformation over the period of a single film. Bryan Cranston. His portrayal of High School Chemistry teacher turned Heisenberg in Breaking Bad is exactly the type of arch I’m looking for. His initial softness would lead to a moment where he exclaims to the shark, “I am the one who knocks.”
Ok, this is actually pretty fun… let’s try Hooper. Matt Hooper is a young oceanographer who was hired by Martin to make sense of the shark attacks occuring in Amity. He’s an ivy league trust fund know-it-all, who brings a vast knowledge and a lot of modern gear to the table. Through the film he gets to test both his technology and his wits, which don’t always go as planned. He is extremely passionate in his beliefs. I especially like his moments with Martin and Quint individually. Whether that’s assisting in Martin’s quest to keep the town safe through diplomacy or arguing with Quint aboard the Orca. This was a hard role to cast but I settled on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Calm down. Let me explain. In my reboot of JAWS, Hooper will appear much younger and fresh-faced to increase his age dynamic with both Martin and Quint. We all know Joseph could play an ivy league kid but he also looks cool handling gadgets in roles like Inception. How about this… it’s either him of Shia Labeouf. Oh, you’re done? Okay, let’s move on.
The final role is that of Quint, the shark hunter. He’s rude. He’s eccentric. He’s also a man of mystery with an icy pair of eyes which we learn have seen terrible things. He’s capable of handing out stern orders but also randomly breaking out into song. This imbalance of personality intensifies once out on the open water. He refuses help and truly doesn’t understand he’s beaten until he’s eaten alive. I love this character and Robert Shaw portrays him perfectly. I think you can safely slot someone like Robert Redford into this role but I went with Jeff fucking Bridges. Jeff can do it all. He can be tough, grizzled, and dirty, and I would pretty much die to hear him do Quint’s opening nail-scratching monologue. “Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’…” Jeff can also play the part of the mad man. I want us to all regret being on that boat. Not because there is a shark in the water but because there is an unstable veteran on deck.
This took me the entire day. Once I was happy with my choices, I decided to make a fake movie poster to see how things looked. In order to complete the poster, I dropped in Peter Jackson as director because we’ve let him mess with mega-classics like King Kong before. I’m not arguing that he should do it, only that his name looks good on the poster and makes it believable. Naturally, you’ll need Spielberg to be a part of it and John Williams to contribute as well. Here’s the final teaser.
So, why did I wait a year to share this? Well, as it turns out, I ran an experiment. I didn’t stop at recasting JAWS and creating a poster… I also registered www.jaws.movie privately and put the poster up there. I figured I had a chance at pranking people into thinking this thing was real if someone just so happened to stumble on that URL. I could not share the poster personally or it would easily be linked back to me. Instead, I just waited patiently… And waited… And waited…
Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies.
Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain.
For we’ve received orders for to sail back to Boston.
And so nevermore shall we see you again.
No one came.
I figured I would simply let the domain expire and keep this whole damn thing a secret. I would let it sink to the ocean floor like the remaining bits of exploded shark and sunken Orca. However, I did want to share one thing. It was my idea of how I thought the film should start.
Int. Heavy Cruiser — Mess Hall — Night
My reboot starts aboard a heavy cruiser adrift in the Pacific ocean at night. The crew are rowdy, but celebratory, having just recently accomplished a major feat. They are on their way home. The camera focuses in on a blue eyed gentlemen in his early 20s. It’s clear he is the life of the party and has a strong camaraderie with his ship mates. He calls for his friend Herbie to join him in song. Herbie agrees, “Sure thing, Quint.”
As the crew revels, our camera pans out and the sound of the party fades way to the ocean waves. It’s peaceful. For a moment. It’s in this shot that we see two explosions rock the side of the ship. One in the bow and one amidships. What comes next is a series of scenes showing Quint and his shipmates evacuating the wreckage. It only takes 12 minutes for the ship to sink. Soon, the crew are in the water, mostly drifting as lifeboats were few.
Whether it was adrenalin or intoxication, the crew attempts to stay in good spirits. That feeling is short lived as the first shark is spotted. A 13 foot tiger shark. The men assemble themselves into tight groups and begin kicking and screaming as each shark comes by. This works for a moment until the first attack occurs. The high pitched scream is unbearable and panic quickly spreads among the crew. Several days of random attacks occur as the crew give up hope. They realize their mission was so secret that no distress signal had been sent.
It’s then that we focus back on Quint. Tired, hungry, and drifting among the debris, he spots a familiar sight. It’s his friend Herbie. He survived the attack. Quint calls for Herbie as he slowly drifts towards him. Herbie is asleep. When Quint nears his friend, he reaches out to wake him, that’s when Herbie’s body upends like a cork. He had been bitten from the waist down.
That’s when Quint hears an otherworldly noise. It’s a huge plane flying overhead. Help has come. There are still hundreds of crew in the water and they are slowly being extracted. Attacks seem more sudden in this moment and the fear within Quint grows to a fever pitch. As he watches the balance of life and death happening before him, Quint finally succumbs to his exhaustion and closes his eyes amongst the waves. The screen goes black.
The next shot comes immediately with a gasp. An older, weathered gentlemen, has waken from a terrible nightmare. His eyes blue.
Two days ago, I saw an article titled Spielberg Wanted Jaws 2 to Be Saving Private Ryan with Sharks. That’s when I knew I had to share this story.
If you have an opinion on the casting please leave a comment below. Have a great 4th of July with your family but whatever you do…
Don’t go in the water.