Jaws is one of those classic films that still scares fans to this day. It came out in 1975 and while movies have come a long way with special effects, there’s still something so scary about that film. Some of the extras have spoken out about their experiences of working on the film for $2.50 an hour!
The movie was shot on Martha’s Vineyard and like many films, extras were hired to fill in the background or play very minor characters. Even larger roles like Mrs. Kintner were played by people who lived on the island. One extra named Susan Murphy shared her experiences in a book called Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard.
Extras from the set of ‘Jaws’ recall their experiences
She wrote, “It’s rainy one day, followed by three days of fog, then maybe a little bit of sun. But when you’re spending as much money as Universal was to film a scene that’s supposed to look like a fun, warm, sunny beach, and all you’re getting is clouds and cold wind for weeks on end, you’ve got serious problems. They had no choice but to keep all the extras and crew on the beach each day and pick away at whatever shots they could get because after July 1, thousands of real tourists would be arriving. Waiting until September certainly wasn’t going to work because all the kids they needed for the scene would be back in school.” Another extra said it was so cold they drank brandy to keep warm!
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A man named Tom Dunlop said he wasn’t cast as an extra in the film but he just stuck around and got himself in a few shots! The shots were important so they had to invite him back to appear in other scenes. He must have really wanted to be in the movie!
Other extras got in trouble for being too dramatic during the intense scenes. An extra named Will Pfluger shared, “During one of the panic shots, everyone bolted from the water like they were supposed to except for one woman. She was just an extra but stayed in and began posing in all kinds of dramatic positions, waving her arms, screaming, and flailing all around. It was overly dramatic to say the least. Finally, one of the directors spoke into a megaphone and said, ‘Ma’am, that won’t be necessary. Please get out of the water.’ The entire beach was in hysterics.”
Have you ever been an extra in a movie?