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Steven Spielberg: Jaws left scars that took years to heal

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Jaws may have been Steven Spielberg’s breakout film, but making the movie was anything but smooth sailing.

The decorated director guided EW’s Anthony Breznican on a tour of the Universal Studios backlot, revisiting sets and props from his career. The stop at Amity Hotel prompted a revelation from Spielberg on what he would do back in the day, when the original Orca boat was still docked there.

“I used to come out for a couple of years after I made the movie to get over my PTSD,” Spielberg told Breznican. “I would work through my own trauma, because it was traumatic. I would just sit in that boat alone for hours, just working through, and I would shake. My hands would shake.”

Spielberg eventually recovered from the shoot, which experienced delay after delay and almost nipped his directorial pursuits in the bud. But when he returned five or six years later, the Orca had been removed from the bay and destroyed. “They said there was dry rot, there were termites. Well, of course there were termites and dry rot!” he said.

The Orca might be rebuilt, upon Spielberg’s request, and ultimately, the director credits Jaws with turning the tide in his filmmaking career.

“The experience gave me complete freedom for the rest of my career,” Spielberg added. “The amount of success the film enjoyed just gave me final cut, gave me the chance to tell my own stories.”

See the clip above, and the full tour below. Read Breznican’s full story on Spielberg here.