Broadway’s The Shark Is Broken is set behind the scenes of Jaws, but the sole surviving member of the main cast of the classic film isn’t applauding.
To Vanity Fair, Richard Dreyfuss laments that the play, written by and starring his Jaws co-star’s lookalike son Ian Shaw, “hurt.”
“I went to see it, to see if it really was gonna hurt,” the actor says. “And it did.”
Dreyfuss adds, “It was pretty awful.”
The actor explains, “Ian … never called me and said … ‘Give me your take on this and this.’ And they just decided to make my character a big jerk.”
The late Robert Shaw played the hard-drinking fisherman Quint to Dreyfuss’ biologist Matt Hooper in Steven Spielberg‘s killer shark movie. Dreyfuss maintains that unlike what the play portrays, he and Shaw had “a very incredible relationship.”
“Robert would take digs at me, and I would take a dig at him,” the actor tells the magazine. “We didn’t take any of that seriously.”
He said of the play, “The problem is that they made my character the fool. They didn’t do that to Roy [the late Roy Scheider], and they didn’t do that to Robert. And that hurt because it wasn’t true.”
Dreyfuss blames Spielberg and Jaws co-screenwriter Carl Gottlieb for the rumor. “Thirty years after the film is over, I start to hear this thing about a feud … I don’t think they just gave it any thought that it would hurt me, and it did,” says Dreyfuss.
The actor, who subsequently starred in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, gripes, “I have enormous respect for Steven’s talent as a director. I guess I don’t have as much for his talent as a friend.”
The Shark is Broken‘s final performance is scheduled for November 19.
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