Anyone who loves Jaws (1975) — and really, who doesn’t love Jaws — knows that Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park) originally wanted a lot more shark in his shark movie. But the buggy and unreliable prop called “Bruce” malfunctioned more than it menaced, driving the young director to constantly and angrily ask, “Is the shark working?” But despite the headaches it caused, the oft-broken Bruce allowed Spielberg to rethink his strategy, building dread by implying the shark’s presence instead of outright showing it.
After helping to make Jaws a blockbuster and an all-time classic (and helping to make the sequels, uh… whatever they are), broken Bruce was sold by Universal Pictures to junkyard owner Sam Adlen, who used the shark as a tourist attraction. By the time Alden’s son donated Bruce to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Los Angeles museum, poor Bruce was in even worse shape than he was for Spielberg.
But just when you thought it was safe to go back to the museum, the Academy tweeted that Bruce is back to former glory, thanks to special effects legend Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead).
Just in time for the 44th anniversary of #Jaws (1975)…🦈
An update on Bruce the shark's restoration! Special effects legend @G_Nicotero, his studio KNB EFX, and the #AcademyMuseum conservation team have fully transformed this undersea giant.
Photos by Greg Nicotero. pic.twitter.com/np2SEzPkld
— Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (@AcademyMuseum) June 20, 2019
The updated Bruce still lacks some of his most notable qualities, namely the rows of teeth in his titular jaws and those “lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes” that so haunted Quint, but he’s a terrifying creature nonetheless.
Spielberg’s moviemaking may have taught us that the less we see, the scarier the shark is. But no fan will want to miss the chance to finally see Bruce in full. Let us know if you’re excited to see Bruce restored to his original glory over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Film Street Subreddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!