Beautiful Blue Eyes brings the late Roy Scheider back to life

Jaws star Roy Scheider has been brought back from the dead — at least on screen, after new technology made it possible to finally complete the film that killed him 14 years ago.

The Oscar nominee was hoping that the movie Beautiful Blue Eyes, which hits theaters today, would finally earn him an Oscar.

In 2007, Scheider took on the role of a Holocaust survivor plotting revenge on the Nazi who murdered his family. He spent two months in Poland while working on the film.

The last day of shooting was supposed to be a four-hour shoot, then Scheider had a flight booked to America. But production had moved to Germany and a problem at the border between the two countries meant the actor was late to the set, leaving just 45 minutes of filming for a crucial scene.

After Scheider left, director Joshua Newton noticed that the camera had malfunctioned.

Scheider filmed his last scene for "Nice blue eyes" - only to find out that the camera had malfunctioned.
Scheider was filming his final scene on Beautiful Blue Eyes – only to find out the camera was defective.

“The film was full of lines and we had to do it again,” Newton told the Post. “There was a problem with one of the sensors on the camera and it was unusable.”

Scheider was already on the plane but agreed to repeat the scene later. Before he could fly back to Germany, however, the actor had an accident at home that set off his cancer, multiple myeloma, in remission.

“Nobody realized how ill Roy was, but we knew he wasn’t well enough to travel, so we made plans to bring the set to him in America,” Newton recalled. “The scene was mostly about a truck that we ran over. Roy seemed in good spirits and one of the things we talked about was his wish for the film to be called Beautiful Blue Eyes – it was originally going to be called Iron Cross.

Tragically, Scheider (left) passed away before the reshoots could take place, leaving the film unfinished.
Tragically, Scheider (left) passed away before the reshoots could take place, leaving the film unfinished.
Technology had advanced enough where Newton (left) felt comfortable replicating Scheider.
Director Joshua Newton (left, with Scheider) tried putting a mask of Roy’s face on another actor to reshoot the scenes, but found it “soulless”.
WireImage for The Weinstein Company

“But almost as soon as the truck arrived in America, we received the devastating news that Roy had died. It was devastating because he was such a special man and we had a special bond,” added the director. “Coincidentally, my dad also had multiple myeloma, and at one point during filming, Roy told me he felt like I needed to go home and see my dad. I took his advice and a few days later my father died. We just had this connection.”

Scheider died on February 10, 2008 at the age of 75.

Newton was keen to release the film as a tribute to Roy – but after trying to edit it without him, he felt it couldn’t be complete without the scene.

So the director turned to technology.

Scheider, seen here with wife Brenda, is said to have hoped "Nice blue eyes" would be the film that would finally earn him an Oscar.
Scheider, who is pictured here with his wife Brenda, was reportedly hoping that Beautiful Blue Eyes would be the film that would finally earn him an Oscar.
Corbis via Getty Images

“Steven Spielberg had this ‘death mask’ — a prosthetic mask of Roy’s face that was used in the ‘SeaQuest DSV’ series, and he loaned it to us,” Newton said. “It was scanned by a San Diego company to create a 3D model of Roy, but the problem was that it didn’t look realistic enough.

He then turned to George Lucas’ SFX company for help, “but they wanted $3 million, so I scrapped them.

“The next idea was to use the prosthesis to make a silicone mask that we could use on another actor. But it just didn’t work,” Newton said. “The actor didn’t have the essence of Roy. It was soulless.”

Among many other films, Scheider was famous for his role in "Jaw."
In addition to many other films, Scheider was famous for his role in Jaws.

It wasn’t until during the pandemic lockdown — 15 years after the film was mostly finished and 14 years after Scheider’s death — that Newton discovered the solution he needed.

“AI technology was now finally available to fix the damage,” he said. “Not only did it erase the streaks like an eraser, I used it on the entire film and it now looks like brand new film. It’s like magic.”

The film is a project close to Newton’s heart as it is based in part on his own father’s life story. Although he always knew that his parents were both Holocaust survivors, the director’s father, Bruno, who had traveled to England on the Kindertransport, did not tell the story of how his parents and little sister were murdered by the Nazis until he was 81.

Scheider died on February 10, 2008 at the age of 75.
Scheider died on February 10, 2008 at the age of 75.
Getty Images

“It got me thinking about the idea of ​​revenge because there was so much anger, so much bitterness in what he was telling me despite all these years,” Newton recalled. “And I thought [about] what would happen if a Holocaust survivor took the law into his own hands and how to get a member of his family to help him. It’s a revenge story about the impact the Holocaust is having on the second generation.”

In the film, Scheider plays a retired NYPD officer who travels to live with his son, who now lives in Germany – only to find out that the man who lives next door is the Nazi who murdered his family.

Newton is thrilled that the actor’s fans – and family – will finally be able to see his latest film.

“He put so much effort into this film and I’m delighted that we can finally honor him by properly showing him in all his glory,” said the director. “There’s no actor quite like Roy, who fused that seriousness with coolness. He was brilliant at exploring the emotional pain the character was suffering. I miss him. I think people will connect with that
history and I hope they think we’ve made Roy proud.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/09/beautiful-blue-eyes-brings-late-roy-scheider-back-to-life/ Beautiful Blue Eyes brings the late Roy Scheider back to life

Emma Bowman

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