(4 of 8)
>Steven Spielberg was all of 26 when he was hired. At the age of 16, he had made a 2½-hour feature for $500, partly bankrolled by his father, a computer executive. Young Spielberg premiered this maiden efforta sci-fi monster flickin his home town of Phoenix with all the trimmings, including limousines and klieg lights raking the sky. By 20, he was in college just outside Los Angeles and had bluffed his way onto the Universal lot, where he hung around movie sets "until I got thrown off. Hitchcock, Franklin Schaffner, I was bounced by the best Universal had to offer."
He was back at Universal months later, on the strength of a student film that had caught the eye of one of the executives. For the next four years, Spielberg directed television: episodes of Marcus Welby, Columbo, The Psychiatrist and a Movie of the Week called Duel, which amply demonstrated his talents. A chilling little tale of a motorist pursued through the Southwest by a semi whose driver is never seen, Duel got Spielberg his first feature, The Sugarland Express. It was a movie with the sort of brio and elaborate technical command that made Spielberg, in the producers' view, just the man for Jaws. "I wanted to do Jaws for hostile reasons," said Spielberg. "I read it and felt that I had been attacked. It terrified me, and I wanted to strike back."
> Robert Shaw, 48, had a cooler opinion of the project. "Jaws was not a novel," he says. "It was a story written by a committee, a piece of shit." He was not inclined to take the part until his late wife, Actress Mary Ure, and his secretary both had a long look at the script and urged him on. "The last time they were that enthusiastic was From Russia With Love," recalls Shaw, who played the slow-thinking, fast-moving hit man in that Bond epic. "And they were right then. So I took the part."
Although Shaw has appeared in over two dozen movies (he was the conned con man in The Sting), the theater is his true territory. A graduate of London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he starred in The Royal Hunt of the Sun and, on Broadway, in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker and Old Times. Pinter returned the compliment by directing The Man in the Glass Booth, a play Shaw adapted from one of his own five novels. For all this, Shaw still resents what he calls "the English snobbishness about the superiority of acting onstage." He likes the challenge of building .a character on film, "where very often you have to make bricks out of straw."
> Roy Scheider, 39, got an Oscar nomination for playing Gene Hackman's buddy in The French Connection. The role in Jaws gave him a shot at shaking the sidekick image that had attached itself since then. A solid, working New York actor who did time with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival and the Lincoln Center Repertory, Scheider keeps his roots firmly in the East. He has a farm in upstate New York and a part interest in Joe Allen's, an actors' hangout near Broadway.
A former Golden Gloves boxer his battered nose a prominent record of his teen-age ring career Scheider proved to be the steadiest member of the troupe. When tempers frayed and gloom hung heavy over the production, Scheider usually just tuned out and worked on his suntan.