“Jaws” star Roy Scheider has been brought back from the dead — at least on screen, after new technology allowed the film he was making when he passed away 14 years ago to finally be finished.
“But almost at the moment that the truck arrived in America, we heard the dreadful news that Roy had died. It was devastating because he was such a special man and we had a particular bond,” the director added. “My father also, by coincidence, had multiple myeloma and, at one point, during filming Roy told me he had a feeling that I needed to go home and see my dad. I took his advice and a few days later my dad died. We just had this connection.”
Scheider died on Feb. 10, 2008, at age 75.
Newton was desperate to get the film out as a tribute to Roy — but after trying an edit without it, he felt it could not be complete without the scene.
So the director turned to technology.
“Steven Spielberg had this ‘death mask’ — a prosthetic mask of Roy’s face which was used in the series ‘SeaQuest DSV’ and he loaned that to us,” Newton said. “It was scanned by a company in San Diego to create a 3D model of Roy, but the problem was it didn’t look realistic enough.
He then went to George Lucas’s SFX company for help, “but they wanted $3 million so I scrapped that.
“The next idea was to use the prosthetic to make a silicone mask which we could use on another actor. But it just didn’t work,” Newton said. “The actor didn’t have the essence of Roy. It was soulless.”
It was only during the pandemic lockdown — 15 years after the movie was mostly done and 14 years after Scheider’s death — that Newton discovered the fix he needed.
“The AI technology was now finally available to restore the damage,” he said. “It not only got rid of the streaks like an eraser, but I used it across the film and it now looks like a brand-new movie. It is like magic.”
The film is a passion project for Newton, as it is partly based on his own father’s life story. While he always knew that both his parents were Holocaust survivors, it was only when he was 81 that the director’s father, Bruno — who had travelled to England on the Kindertransport — told the story of how his parents and little sister were murdered by the Nazis.
“It found out about retribution since there was such annoyance, such harshness, in everything he said to me, notwithstanding every one of the years,” Newton reviewed. “Furthermore, I thought [about] what might occur on the off chance that a Holocaust survivor was to go rogue and how he could get a his relative to help him. It is a retribution story which takes into the effect the Holocaust has on the subsequent age.”
In the film Scheider plays a resigned NYPD official who goes to see his child, presently living in Germany — just to figure out that the one who lives nearby is the Nazi who killed his loved ones.
Newton is excited that the entertainer’s fans — and family — will at last get to see his last film.
“All he put such a lot of exertion into this movie, and I’m satisfied that we can at last respect him by showing it appropriately in its brilliance,” the chief said. “There is no entertainer who was very similar to Roy, who combined that gravitas with the coolness. He was splendid at investigating the close to home agony that the person endured. I miss him. I figure individuals will associate with the story and I trust that they figure we’ve done Roy glad.”