From the superstar status, the voracious appetites for just about anything and everything, to the mad adulation of hordes of fans screaming our names, (ELVIS! HELP! SHARK!) all the way to starring in a string of bad movies, the similarities between The King and The Cadillac Of All That Has Come to Mean Fish, are all too striking. Who knew when Mr. Benchley first approached me about starring in this silly little beach thing of a film called of all things, 'Jaws,' that indeed, a star was being born.
Little has been written of the tensions and clashes of personalities on location during the making of what would become known to the world as, Jaws –particularly between Peter and myself: I wasn’t happy with the name Jaws and wanted it changed. When Viva Los Farallons met with a deafening silence I then suggested Fun In Acapulco as a nice, fun in the sun kind of thing…. …think about it! Wouldn’t you have rather seen me in some glamorous local, chewing up the scenery and a bunch of sexy girls in bikinis rather than that freaked out sheriff dude with the bad sunglasses and Richard Dreyfus (whatever happened to him anyway?) never mind that stupid old smelly coot of a fisherman Quint trying to talk like a pirate and all those crummy little bridge and tunnel brats that deserved to be thrown to the sharks? Haha! Just kidding! I wouldn’t do that to a bunch of nice friendly fish!
Worst of all was my stunt double –that unconvincing, completely bogus looking rubber shark they used whenever there were other actors in the water…what? Do you people actually think every time I see one of you all I want to do is eat you? Are you all really that full of yourselves? Because I’m not…just joking!…don’t start screaming shark! To tell you the truth, the first time I saw that thing I thought they just wanted a shark that actually did more closely resemble The King on quaaludes after a few late night feeding frenzies at the local Memphis Dunkin Doughnut outlet. I forget who I’m discussing silly me! Of course The King ordered in!
Can I tell you how mortified I was with that ridiculous ending? What self respecting great white shark would swim around with an air tank sticking out of his mouth like some fishy Clint Eastwood wannabe with one of those cheap cigarillos he always chomps on right before he kills a lot of people…I wondered who’s thinking this stuff up? Some film company executive comes on location, sees me swimming in pools of blood, and thinks, ‘this is too terrifying’ what if this isn’t blood but a nice marinara puree, that everything ends well, and that rather than people being eaten by some 5,000 pound great white shark with coal black eyes, a vast array of serrated teeth, who has worked up quite an appetite slogging his way through this potboiler of a crap film, we can make this into the first ocean going spaghetti western! Well then, why Jaws?... Why not, Pale Swimmer?...or, A Mouthful Of Surfers?...
Every time I swam on that set I thought to myself, ‘what a dump.’
As for the book, even as a hack writer, Peter Benchley sucked! Spielberg himself said after reading it he was rooting for me! (Though I fail to understand why he wouldn’t do so under any circumstance-) still, the only good thing about that pulp fiction was The Shark! And that movie…with that pretentious, only in Hollywood soundtrack…does anyone in their right mind actually think we sharks swim around humming a few bars of that tone deaf rot before dining?…Peter Benchley died the other day; let’s get on with our lives and face it! The only thing that saved that wretched piece of (can you even call it writing?) that he made millions off of, was ………my star power and charismatic self!……To hell with Benchley! Without me, he was nothing! Not that I’m bitter or anything………
Le Grand Requin du' Blanc