- Steven Spielberg wanted Sterling Hayden for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden's income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn't subject to levy) for a large sum. It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw (I) was cast instead.
- Charlton Heston was considered for the role of Chief Brody. Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms and Jan-Michael Vincent were considered for the role of Hooper.
- Author Peter Benchley's choices for whom to cast in the film: 'Redford, Robert' , 'Newman, Paul' and 'McQueen, Steve' .
- Steven Spielberg originally wanted Joe Spinell and Frank Pesce to be the two guys on the dock fishing for the shark at night (Pesce as the guy who falls in the water and Spinell shouting to him). Unfortunately, Pesce couldn't make it to Martha's Vineyard.
- Quint's tale of the USS Indianapolis was written by Shaw following a disagreement between screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb. Shaw presented his text, and Benchley and Gottlieb agreed that this was exactly what was needed. Whoever was responsible, Quint got the date of the sinking wrong, claiming it was June 29th, 1945, when in reality it was 12:14am on July 30th, 1945.
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