Steven Spielberg ‘Really Regrets’ Jaws’ Shark Population Decimation

Steven Spielberg said he “really regrets” the “decimation of the shark population” following the success of his 1975 film Jaw.

Together with Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island DiscsHe spoke about his successful directing career, including his latest project – the semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans.

Spielberg, 75, is known for Hollywood blockbusters, among other things ET, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Parkand Jaw.

The Oscar-winning 1975 thriller tells the story of a man-eating great white shark that attacks a US coastal town, prompting a surge in sport fishing across America.

When asked by Laverne what he thinks about real sharks circling his deserted island, he said: “It’s one of the things I still fear.

“Not getting eaten by a shark, but these sharks are kind of mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sport fishermen that happened after 1975.”

He added: “I truly regret, and to this day, the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film. I really, really regret that.”

Spielberg’s latest film The Fabelmans tells the largely true story of his own childhood and introduction to filmmaking in post-war America.

The film, starring Paul Dano and Michelle Williams, has received critical acclaim, earning top nominations at both the 2023 Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.

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Discussing the making of the film, Spielberg admitted that he initially thought the project was the “most indulgent thing I’ve ever asked people to walk me through.”


Describing it as “$40 million worth of therapy,” he said, “I didn’t really know what I was doing other than responding to a need I had.

“Being an orphan or recently bereaved by the loss of both parents to regain some of those memories in a way that actors I really respected wouldn’t seem overly indulgent.

“So it was a tightrope act for a while.”

When asked by Laverne if he got emotional during filming, he replied, “Yes, I did. I did. Oh my god I did.

“Probably the biggest struggle I had while making the film was not getting emotional. But there were times when it was just out of my control.”

He said the project pushed his anxiety levels “through the roof.”

“I’m a private individual going public, and I can’t hide behind someone else’s authorship or a book or a genre or American history,” he said.

“I can’t get into one of those really comfortable bomb shelters and just be stuck with myself talking to you here.”

Spielberg added that it was “absolutely correct” to see him as a “sentimental and nostalgic” person.

He added, “I think nostalgia is even more important than sentimentality, but I never get mad when I hear that unless someone says it ruined the movie for them… I don’t like that.”

More generally, he said a filmmaker’s role is not to “manipulate” audiences by playing with their emotions, although he admitted to having done so himself Jaw and his 1982 supernatural horror film poltergeist.

“A filmmaker should never manipulate the audience unless every single scene has some sort of jack-in-the-box [scary moment]. That’s manipulation,” he said.

“I’ve done that a few times poltergeist and I certainly did once Jaw where the head comes out of the hole. That’s okay, I admit that…

“Our job is to guide the audience to better understand themselves through the stories we tell.”

The full interview with Spielberg on Desert Island Discs will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Sunday 18 December at 11am. Steven Spielberg ‘Really Regrets’ Jaws’ Shark Population Decimation


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