Recently Ian Shaw, son of the late Robert Shaw, wrote a play titled “The Shark is Broken” which centers on the behind-the-scenes relationship between Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and the late Roy Scheider while filming Steven Spielberg classic “Jaws”.
Shaw reportedly used his late father’s diary as a reference whilst writing the play with Joseph Nixon. The result is the play depicts his father as an alcoholic whilst Dreyfuss is shown to be “neurotic, fame-obsessed, comically insecure”.
“I went to see it, to see if it really was gonna hurt. And it did. It was pretty awful. Ian [Shaw] – who has more than any right to write whatever he wants – never called me and said, ‘Give me some background.’ Or, ‘Give me your take on this and this.’ And they just decided to make my character a big jerk.”
The “Close Encounters” actor says whilst some scenes in the play were true, like a bet between him and Shaw over pushups, others were not such as Dreyfuss suffering a panic attack at one point.
He also indicates he and Shaw never fought and had an “incredible relationship”. Relatively recent rumors of a feud between the pair he blames on both Steven Spielberg and co-screenwriter Carl Gottlieb:
“Thirty years after the film is over, I start to hear this thing about a feud. I have to say that Carl and Steven knew better, knew that there was no feud. There was an ongoing kind of humor between us. If you only saw us on the set, then you might think that there was something—a feud that was going on—but it was never real. Never. And I hold that against Carl and Steven.”
“The Shark is Broken” is currently playing for three more weeks at the John Gold Theatre in New York.