Steven Spielberg has apologized to all sharks for the bad press the animals have received since the release of “Jaws” in 1975. While the movie was tremendously successful, earning him three Oscars and becoming the highest-grossing film of its time, it has had an extremely detrimental effect on the population of sharks in the wild
- “Jaws” was Steven Spielberg’s take on the Peter Benchley novel of the same name. While not that many people had read the book, the movie certainly brought great white sharks into the mainstream. Suddenly, everyone was terrified of the beast lurking in the depths of the ocean.
- Spielberg opened up about his regrets on BBC’s Desert Island Discs with Lauren Laverne. In the interview, he admitted he feels bad about how much sharks have suffered in the wake of the movie that largely launched his career. “I truly and to this day regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film. I really, truly regret that,” he said.
- He worries that sharks will hate him. While he’s likely being a bit tongue-in-cheek, Spielberg is still haunted by the poor treatment of the animal. “That’s one of the things I still fear”, he said. “Not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sports fishermen that happened after 1975.”
- There was a major increase in shark finning after “Jaws” came out. Shark researcher George Burgess says that fishermen all wanted to prove how brave they were in the wake of the film’s release, so they all headed out to try and catch their own Jaws. Instead, what often happened is that their fins would have been cut off and they would have sunk to the bottom of the ocean and died because they could no longer swim.
- The chance of a shark attack is extremely low. Apparently, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a shark. In actual numbers, the chances are one in 3.7 million. No wonder even Benchley, who wrote the “Jaws” novel, regrets the book that made him a millionaire. “What I now know, which wasn’t known when I wrote Jaws, is that there is no such thing as a rogue shark which develops a taste for human flesh,” he admitted to Animal Attack Files (via LI Herald). “No one appreciates how vulnerable they are to destruction.”
Featured image credit: Universal Pictures/Gage Skidmore/CC-By-SA 3.0