Over the years, The Daily Jaws has caught up with Carl Gottlieb, Joe Alves and Susan Backlinie. Top of that ‘must meet’ list is Matt Hooper himself, Richard Dreyfuss.
Finally, The Daily Jaws and the oceanographer from Jaws were in the same room...where he even said ‘bullshit’ live on BBC One, not the done thing at around 7pm. It certainly wasn’t dull.
If you are in the UK, you can view the show here for the next 29 days. The eagle-eyed may even spot Ross, founder of The Daily Jaws, or Dean, Chief Writer, in their Jaws t-shirts stood at the back.
Dreyfuss and the presenters obviously just there to give us some foreground.
Broadcasting House - the home of the BBC - in London was the location where The Daily Jaws had front row seats - okay so it was standing only - as part of an intimate audience of around 20 for The One Show, which featured Richard Dreyfuss on Friday 21 June.
It was all the more fitting that it was just one day after Jaws celebrated 44 years since it hit cinemas in the US that our paths should cross.
We entered the studio just minutes before the show went live on BBC One and Dreyfuss was already sat on the sofa chatting to the presenters. It was great to be in the same room as him, and to be so close.
Although The was talking to the presenters - and the UK live - it just felt like he was directly talking to us. He came across really well, was genuinely funny and had a huge array of anecdotes - more on those later - but we were of course most interested in Jaws.
The One Show asked him if he know when he was filming Jaws, did he know it was going to be so influential?
Richard Dreyfuss said: “I was the only member of the cast who didn’t think so. Everyone thought it was going to be a huge, fantastic success, and I said ‘it’s a little movie’.”
It was then brilliant to see them show the releasing of the first barrel scene - which we all saw on the monitor in the studio - and was great to watch Dreyfuss watching himself on the screen in that iconic moment we’ve all seen so many times before. It’s just a shame we couldn’t have watched the whole thing with him.
After that clip finished it was back to the chat on the sofa, noting the passing of time between Dreyfuss on the screen as Matt Hooper and the Richard Dreyfuss sat before us, he quipped: “The funny thing is that I actually look like that now, and had to run off and put on all this old stuff in the break.”
Asked if Jaws was scary to make, Dreyfuss said: “It was scary, the idea of not finishing it, that was scary. And it was a very real part of our experience.
“We were originally scheduled to start May 2 and end June 28, and we left the island on September 16 and were not finished with the film. We then continued to shoot and then one morning Steven Spielberg said to me ‘you’re under arrest. Alfred Hitchcock is coming big to arrest you because you parked all night in his parking spot.’ And I ran out of his room and took the car and ran it into a wall somewhere.
“Then I began to pay attention to what he (Spielberg) was planning his next film to be, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
The One Show noted that there was a lot of big names rattling around for the main Close Encounters role, from Dustin Hoffmann to Al Pacino and Gene Hackman.
Dreyfuss said: “I bad-mouthed every actor in Hollywood, I did. I said, I’m going to play this part and I don’t who I have to kill to do it. I would walk by Steven’s office and say Pacino’s crazy, you know Gene Hackman has no sense of humour.
Then one day I walked by and said, Steven you need a child. And he looked up and he said you got the part. And they did need a child, he had to be a married man with kids but basically a goofball. And so, that’s how I played it.”
They also talked about him winning his best actor Oscar in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl, at which time he was the youngest recipient of the award. A record that remained until - as luck would have it - someone called Brody, Adrien not Chief, won it in 2003.
Again it was surreal but just great to be able to share in these amazing clips with the main himself in the same room just feet away.
Dreyfuss was primarily there to promote his one man show in London on Thursday 27 June. One of the presenters asked him why he was doing one of these shows as he’d initially been sceptical about them. Without missing a beat, Dreyfuss replied “Ego and money.”
“I thought if any man could make money in a one man show, so could I. And I have 60 years - count that - 60 years of professional work behind me.
“And I think, just for that alone I should get some, oxygen.”
Dreyfuss went onto say that the reason he was doing was that he was at an autograph event and was all set to be embarrassed, then realised this was the only time he ever got a chance to say thank you to the people who came to see his movies. And so, he went to town and got them coffees and ice-cream.
They also spent some time talking about the pronunciation of his last name, the fact that Dreyfuss is said differently in the US than it is in Europe - pronounced ‘Dryfuss’ in the US and ‘Drayfuss’ in Europe.
When asked which one was the correct one, he said: “Their both right, and their both wrong. I’m neutral, I want to be Switzerland.”
He went onto explain that the ‘Drayfuss’ is because of The Dreyfuss Affair in France in the 1890s. It centred around Alfred Dreyfuss, a Jewish artillery captain in the French army who was accused of passing military secrets to the Germans. He said that even today it was considered one of the most controversial names in France.
Dreyfuss also shared the interview sofa with British singer Will Young, who said he was he feeling overwhelmed to be sat next to Richard Dreyfuss. His favourite film being Mr Holland’s Opus, which if you haven’t seen it you must. Should have been another Oscar.
The singer and actor also share another commonality, they have both been very open and honest about their mental health issues. In fact Will Young even said that Dreyfuss was the first person who came into his consciousness as a 16 year old who was talking about depression. He applauded him that.
Young finished the show with a live song outside the studio, and before we left we took the opportunity to have our own close encounter of the third kind with Dreyfuss and have a quick word with the Jaws legend and shake his city hands.
Dreyfuss may not have appeared in the Jaws sequel, but hopefully we might just be able to convince him to take part in the sequel to this The Daily Jaws article.
Hooper may have said “don’t wait for me!” We’ll certainly be happy to wait for Mr Dreyfuss though. It was an honour and a pleasure to be in his presence for those thirty something minutes.
An Evening Wtih Richard Dreyfuss at Cadogan Hall is next week
Words and transcription by Dean Newman
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