Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) just celebrated its 45th anniversary (read our retrospective here). That incredible milestone serves as a great backdrop for this amazing crowdfunding announcement. According to the group’s Indiegogo page:
“The Orca, Quint’s legendary boat from the film Jaws, is being recreated by the original people involved in the blockbuster who designed and built her for the film released in 1975.”
Wow! Read on for all the amazing details!
From The ‘Return of the Orca’ Press Release
Rather than hunting the great white shark, as in the film, part of the Orca’s new mission will be researching marine life and helping people better understand the varieties of shark species in the areaaround Martha’s Vineyard including great white sharks.
Jaws author Peter Benchley was a huge advocate of conservation, a legacy continued by his widow. Wendy Benchley is on the board of directors of Beneath The Waves, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ocean health and focusing on threatened species conservation, who will use the new Orca as part of its mission offering expeditions for the organization’s researchers.
Helping realize this project is academy award nominee and Jaws production designer Joe Alves. Also involved is Martha’s Vineyard local Chris Crawford, who refitted the boat ‘Warlock’ in just six weeks back in 1974, creating the Orca in Jaws. This time round, the new Orca will be a refit from a Nova Scotia lobster boat, the “Lydia”, found on the north shore of Massachusetts.
Today, Alves and Crawford are working as a team once more to create Orca III. Crawford will be in charge of the physical recreation with a team of expert boat builders while Alves, secure in his Los Angeles home during the COVID-19 pandemic, will provide design plans and art direction to ensure the boat matches the look and feel of the original Orca as much as possible.
That great! So many folks from the original film! Two Jaws-related organizations, ‘Making The Monster’ and ‘The Daily Jaws,’ are collaborating on the project. Community!
Here’s a look at the project’s poster.
The Orca’s New Mission
Orca III will then begin her conservationist mission. Greg Skomal, PhD, and Marine Fisheries biologist at Martha’s Vineyard Fisheries, will journey aboard the Orca III to the waters off Martha’s Vineyard. There he will work with his crew to stage research of the sharks around the island prowling the waters for the rich seal population which has exploded over the past 20 years.
From there, the future of the Orca III will be dedicated to giving movie fans a boat to visit that they haven’t seen in decades as well as providing a vessel for the scientists at Beneath The Waves to use in their conservation efforts.
Super cool! Nice to see the work isn’t just for show. There’s a bold new mission for the Orca once she’s seaworthy again. I love it!
Third Time’s The Charm
The press release also includes an interesting history lesson:
The original Orca used in the blockbuster film was destroyed over 25 years ago. She sat on the Universal Studios backlot in LA on a small artificial pond where tourists would ride by the famous mechanical shark ‘Bruce’ (named after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer) on the blue tram tour cars.
After years of neglect and decay, a decision was made to pull the boat from the water and pull her wooden structure apart. Since then, no other Orca has been made that matches the original.
Orca III was designated as this new vessel’s name because there were actually two separate boats that appeared in Jaws. The Orca seen in the movie and the Orca II, a prop vessel made of fiberglass with hydraulics and buoyancy systems so it could be lowered and raised during the final sinking scenes where Chief Brody finally destroys the shark.
Awesome! How cool is that?
‘Return of the Orca’ – Final Thoughts
I love it! What a great piece of film history. The Indiegogo has some great perks, too. I see t-shirts, posters, name credit, and even a documentary. Looks like the money will be going to a great cause!
What do you think? Are you excited about the Return of the Orca? Will you contribute to the project? Tell us in the comments!