This is a cracking Blogathon from Ruth over at Flixchatter that I’m hoping I can squeeze onto the end of. She’s had a hell of a response and there have been some great choices. The aim of the blogathon is to:
“Shine a spotlight on the ‘unsung heroes’ if you will, the overlooked performers who add so much richness & entertainment value to the film no matter how brief their appearance is, but yet they don’t get the credit they so deserve.”
Mine is a little offbeat but I hope it still fulfills the criteria. There were a few in consideration but I wanted to keep with Horror Movie Month and therefore decided to go with…
Bruce the shark – Jaws (1975)
There are few non-human characters who have had such an impact, not just in cinema, but in popular culture in general as Bruce. Named by the Jaws crew after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce was quite the diva. He had over 40 technicians working on him at Rolly Harper’s Motion Picture & Equipment Rental in Sun Valley, California and would be driven everywhere he went. His failure to work when asked also caused the film to go massively over budget and on his debut he sank to the bottom of the ocean. His hydraulic system also exploded. Weird how sharks have evolved.
However, despite the problems, Bruce helped Jaws become one of the most beloved and influential films of all time despite only actually appearing on screen a few times throughout the film. The thing with Bruce is that he doesn’t need to appear on screen, most of his best work is done when you can’t see him but know he’s there – now that’s acting! But when he does show up, you certainly remember it. From that initial mauling at the beach to the iconic moment when Brody’s tossing food into the sea to his devouring of Quint, Bruce is never on screen for long, but when he is, he makes it count.
Bruce has not worked since Jaws, mainly because he was blown to smithereens by an oxygen tank, and although others have tried to take on the mantle, no other sealife before or since has matched his performance. He’s the reason you were scared to get back in the water (only Kevin Costner has been involved in a scarier movie out on the ocean) and is now embedded into movie folklore until the end of time.
Just in case you needed reminding, here’s some of his best work…