Toby Kearton is an independent film director from the UK. Jaws has meant so much to Toby since his first viewing and has had a large influence in guiding him towards his current career path. It’s not just a movie it’s a legacy. In May 2019, whilst being in-between film projects, Toby decided to visit Martha’s Vineyard, which had been his number one destination to visit for many years, to see what he was missing.
The Daily Jaws (TDJ): Did it take you long to research it and get the shots exactly right?
Toby: On visiting the island initially, it was never a grand plan to capture all these comparison photos of the Vineyard. As soon as I arrived I took a photo of Main Street from memory. It was only on arrival to the hotel I compared my photo to the shot in Jaws. It was there and then I had the idea to capture as many shots as possible from the island and compare them to the movie for everyone to enjoy.
TDJ: How long did it take you to get all the shots?
Toby: I visited the island for the week, so there was plenty of time to see all of the locations. As soon as you arrive you realise the effort everyone has given to preserve the island. It is like stepping back in time. So there are more similarities than differences in the 45 years since the production arrived.
TDJ: Did any prove more difficult than the others?
Toby: On visiting Menemsha harbor, I found out the dock where the characters makedepart the island on the Orca no longer exists. Obviously Quints shack was only contracted for the movie, but the dock has long since gone. Therefore I has to get creative in capturing the environment. The angle differs immensely to the shot in the movie, but as a fan you still get a sense of the location.
TDJ: Any you wish you’d got but didn’t or no longer exists?
Toby: Obviously the island has changed since the production arrived in 1974, including the original Brody house which has since been remodeled, but I would have loved to have captured the ‘Holiday Roast Pier’ which has since rotted away.
TDJ: How many times have you been to MV?
Toby: This visit to Martha’s Vineyard was my first and I cannot wait to return to the island. I would love to be there in 2025 for Jaws’ 50th Anniversary - I’m sure there will be a celebration of some sort going on.
TDJ: It still almost looks as if you are stepping into the movie, how does it feel walking through ‘Amity’?
Toby: I re-visit the movie, once a week. It is my go to film. So the experience of walking into ‘Amity’ felt like I was experiencing the film in 4D or in virtual reality. The film Jaws is so iconic which makes the island it was filmed in equally as memorable. Like I mentioned, the island has bene prefectly preserved over the years so both an avid Jaws fan and a casual viewer can immediately identify where they are standing and the significance of the locations.
TDJ: Did you run into lots of other Jaws fans?
Toby: Funnily enough I didn’t! I felt like the only Jaws fan and outsider on the island! However on talking to all the islanders you get a sense that they are so proud that their island had been the home to Jaws. So more of less, every islander is a fan of Jaws, so you could say I ran into Jaws fans everywhere I went!
TDJ: What are the Amity Island highlights for you?
Toby: Being on the island is one huge highlight, especially when your such a huge fan of the movie. Everywhere you turn is instantly recognizable. You have to pinch yourself at moments. Your standing on a bridge you’ve seen so many times on the screen and lyou ook around and say to yourself, I’m standing on the Jaws bridge. It really is an incredible and unique feeling having a connection with a bridge…
TDJ: Any hints or tips for anyone thinking of making the same journey? Places to stay, eat or the order to do things?
Toby: Have the movie with you at all times and watch it before you leave! If your visiting the island as a Jaws fan, I recommend staying in Edgartown as it’s the best place to catch the bus easily to all of your locations! I stayed at The Kelly House, in Edgartown which was where the film crew of Jaws resided during the production. There are a lot of stories there - if only walls could talk.
For food I highly recommend the Lobster Rolls from the ‘Among The Flowers’ cafe. The best on the island. ‘The Warf Restaurant and Pub’ is a must visit for Jaws fans. The food is fantastic and manager is none other than Alex Kitner himself, Jeffrey Voorhees, who was so welcoming. He is happy to talk everything Jaws and will even sign anything Jaws related.
TDJ: How long have you been a fan of the film? / When and where did you first see it?
Toby: I have been a fan of the film since I first saw it when I was extremely young. I can’t remember where I saw it first - must have been on TV. But I have since, been luckily enough to see the film on the big screen. A fantastic experience was the opportunity to see Jaws in it’s original 35mm Universal Studios print in Los Angeles, which as a film lover was very exciting.
TDJ: Did it inspire you to become a director?
Toby: Without question. Not only is the film a textbook in fantastic acting, great musical composition, phenomenal editing, memorable characters, the fact a 27 year old director managed to create a film that changed the culture so significantly, whilst being faced with great difficultly, stress and pressure, is truly inspiring. As a young director it gives you great courage and inspiration to tackle a challenging production. Despite the production nightmares of Jaws, every single frame of the film is perfectly constructed - And I don’t use that term likely! I salute you Mr. Spielberg and your cast and crew.
TDJ: Have you a favourite moment, character or line of dialogue?
Toby: My favourite moment in the film which I believe to be the most powerful in putting us the audience, on the edge of our seats, is the moment where Quint’s fishing line gets it first ‘tug’. The underlying music makes an entrance which give us the chills as he slowly puts on his harness to the oblivion of Brody and Hooper. He slowly prepares himself to make one large pull of that fishing line. It’s almost like he’s preparing himself for battle - I truly love that sequence.
‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’ has to be a winner there where it comes to dialogue, although I am a lover of this conversation in the movie, which always makes me laugh out loud:
Hooper: “Can you tell me if there’s a good restaurant or hotel on the island?”
Fisherman: “Yeah, you walk straight ahead.”
Hooper: “Ha ha, they’re all gonna die!”
Get’s me every time!
TDJ: Have you and favourite Jaws merchandise?
Toby: Well the T-Shirt of course is the cornerstone in classic Jaws merchandise. I have a reproduction of the classic white ‘Film Crew Shirt’ which I think is great, with Joe Alves screen printed shark logo, thats probably my favourite!
Thank you! It’s been a pleasure to talk to the Daily Jaws! I am currently working on a feature film we’re shooting in the UK in January! Thank you to Jaws and all the fans out there! As you all know it’s more than must a movie!
Website - www.tobykearton.com
Facebook - @DirectedByTobyKearton
Instagram - to37_kea97
Toby Kearton was interviewed by Dean Newman
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