Week 5 - Jaws The Non Filmstar Filmstar

Week 4 is epic, so I'm holding off writing about that until I've got time to do it justice. However Week 5 was much more easy to digest.

This week we talked about films which were actively anti-film star. I'm not talking indie films, world cinema or foreign films, I'm talking about regular block buster movies which deliberately chose to use actors who were unknown. Sam asked us to name films which had taken this status and to honest it was difficult to do. I've seen many quirky independent films which, probably through cost restraints chose to make the "story the star" rather than hire the big names, but I couldn't think of any mainstream cinema hits. Hmmm.
The first example we watched was Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), the films producers (in agreement from Spielberg) Zanuck and Brown decided to ignore the pleas from Charlton Heston to play Police Chief Martin Brody and instead pick Roy Scheider (sadly passed away this year if anyone caught the BAFTAs). We watched the "you're going to need a bigger boat scene" and studied the way the actors appear on screen. Schieder doesn't demonstrate any of the stylised movements of typical "stars" of the era - he's positively clumsy and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) mocks him in the dialogue. The three men (Brody, Quint and Hooper) have a similar presence on screen - even though Quint is the obvious leader (upwards shots of him in the crows nest signify this) he calls Brody "chief" over and over to re-iterate the audience who the lead is. Can you imagine if Charlton Heston had been the lead? How many close ups? How much over stage presence he would have had? Because, let's face it, Jaws is the real star and as much as I would have liked to see him try and attack Charlton Heston, it just seems weird now.

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