At the Movies

Jaws' "Bruce" is Back

45 Years after Jaws was released, the iconic "Bruce" the shark will go on display for the first time after a 7 month restoration.


NOVEMBER 25th, 2020

© AFP

F

or many, “Bruce the Shark” is a character from Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo, yet for those who are fans of Steven Spielberg’s iconic Jaws, to them “Bruce” is the name given to animatronic shark featured in the “world’s first-ever blockbuster”.

After 45-years, the famously difficult shark is set to go on display at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles – and this time he cooperated. “Bruce’s” display is the culmination of years of planning, with the shark being donated to the museum in 2016 after spending years in a junkyard.

"Bruce" will go on display from April 30th, 2021 - © AFP


The model is constructed from the original mould for the movie in 1975. - © AFP


The shark’s foreseeable display at the museum, however, isn’t the first time he has been on show. For 15 years he hung at Universal Studios Hollywood as a photo opportunity for visitors, and for many hardcore fans of Jaws, this “Bruce” isn’t technically authentic.

Three mechanical Great Whites were designed by art director Joe Alves for the original movie and were destroyed after production wrapped. Notorious for breaking down and failing to work, Spielberg named the shark after his lawyer Bruce Ramer, and commented that “if I ever see those sharks again, it would be too soon” in reference to their inability to work when needed.



Yet, due to the sheer success of Spielberg’s thriller, and the film becoming a box office phenomenon, Universal Studio asked for a fourth shark to be made from the original mould. It is this version of “Bruce” which will go on display as the last of his kind.

With almost a quarter century hanging beneath the Californian sunshine and countless repaints at Universal Studios, “Bruce” wasn’t exactly camera ready. The shark needed serious TLC, leading to a seven-month restoration project headed by special effects and makeup artist Greg Nicotero.

The original mechanical shark was named after Steven Spielberg's lawyer Bruce Kramer - © Universal


Spielberg is pictured whilst on production sitting in the mouth of one of the three sharks which were used. - © Universal


The acclaimed artist has worked on numerous productions, including The Walking Dead, and described the process of bringing the shark back to life as “a dream come true,” also stating that Jaws was the movie which inspired his love for the film industry.

Academy Museum Director Bill Kramer said the introduction of “Bruce” into the museum demonstrated how privileged their position is into helping restore historic film artifacts: “We can call on our members and other members of the film industry who have either worked on the film that the artifact is from or know enough about the provenance and work that had been done to help us restore it.”



The public will be able to see “Bruce” in person when the museum finally opens to the public on April 30, 2021, in what is expected to be a major draw for fans.

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