Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Richard Dreyfuss ‘Hurt’ by Play About ‘Jaws’ Drama With Robert Shaw

Richard Dreyfuss ‘Hurt’ by Play About ‘Jaws’ Drama With Robert Shaw

Richard Dreyfuss finally watched the Broadway musical that depicts a so-called feud between him and his late Jaws co-star Robert Shaw. And he admits he’s hurt by the production. 

Shaw’s son, Ian, brought the story to the stage in The Shark is Broken. He claims he came up with the idea after reading his father’s diary. Though, rumors that the actors clashed had already been circling for decades. 

While talking to Vanity Fair, Dreyfuss believes he had “a very incredible relationship” with Shaw. And he said sitting through the musical “was pretty awful” for several reasons. 

“Ian — who has more than any right to write whatever he wants — never called me and said, ‘Give me some background.’ Or, ‘Give me your take on this and this.’ And they just decided to make my character a big jerk… The problem is that they made my character the fool,” he told the publication. “They didn’t do that to Roy [Scheider], and they didn’t do that to Robert. And that hurt because it wasn’t true.”

Richard Dreyfuss ‘Jaws’ Director Steven Spielberg was Indirectly Involved in the Musical

The Oscar-winner, who played marine biologist Matt Hooper to Shaw’s captain Quint in Jaws, admitted that he and his co-star enjoyed teasing each other, but it was always in jest. He could only recall one incident when he was actually upset with Shaw. Dreyfuss tossed a glass of bourbon overboard, and Shaw hosed him down for him. 

“That was the only day I lost my sense of humor,” said Dreyfuss. “That was not a feud… We never had any bad feelings between us, ever.”

Richard Dreyfuss, 75, is the last major Jaws star still alive. Shaw died when he was only 51 after suffering a heart attack in 1978. Scheider passed away from myeloma complications in 2008. He was 75. So Dreyfuss believes he is the only person who can truly share “how it really was” on set.

However, he thinks Director Spielberg and Co-Screenwriter Carl Gottlieb gave second-hand information about the relationship to Ian Shaw. 

“I don’t think they just gave it any thought that it would hurt me, and it did. I have to say that Carl and Steven knew better, knew that there was no feud,” he continued. 

Dreyfuss made it a point to say that he doesn’t have hard feelings for the two. Though he now second-guesses his relationship with Spielberg. 

“I have enormous respect for Steven’s talent as a director,” he noted. “I guess I don’t have as much for his talent as a friend.”