A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Shark Week: The Filming of Jaws 2

In celebration of Shark Week, we are flashing back to when the second most famous shark movie was filmed in our area of Florida.  Principal photography for the Jaws 2 movie ended just before Christmas in 1977 on Choctawhatchee Bay near Destin. The majority of the film was shot on Navarre Beach. In addition, the teen hangout scenes were filmed at the original Hog’s Breath Saloon on Okaloosa Island. Hog’s Breath has since relocated to Destin, FL.

It was an exciting time for local families as several answered the casting call to be extras in the movie. One of those, the Bobo family, had four family members cast as extras. Toni Bobo Britton recounts her experience on set:

I was in the 10th grade. We missed two weeks of school.  We were on the beach for almost 12 hours every day. Most of the time they told us they were setting up camera shots and to just enjoy the beach, playing volleyball and eating hamburgers.  They were actually filming the entire time. For the longest time, I held on to my Universal Studios check stubs – we made around $6 an hour. I remember we had to go back in November and re-shoot a scene. The water was so cold, but we had to get in anyway…”

In a pivotal scene, Bobo Britton appeared front & center on the big screen. She is giving the lead actor, Roy Scheider, who is playing Chief Martin Brody, a look of disdain. He has panicked the beach-goers and wrongfully fired his gun at a school of bluefish, not sharks. Bobo Britton says her sisters still kid her about that “look”.  

Bobo Britton, who now works as a professional business consultant, says her family were pleasantly surprised to make it into the movie, “We didn’t know if we would be seen in the movie. It was released in larger cities before Ft. Walton Beach. When the movie was released here, I remember how much fun it was hearing people say, ‘There’s Toni Bobo! There’s Angie Bobo! There’s so and so!’ It was so much fun. People still mention it every time the movie comes on TV.”

Additional Jaws 2 interesting tidbits:

  • Jaws 2 was released was in 1978, making this year the 40th anniversary of the movie’s debut.
  • The sharks for Jaws 2 were known as Bruce Two since the sharks for the original film had been nicknamed “Bruce”, after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer. On set, they were called “Fidel” and “Harold”, the latter after another Beverly Hills attorney.
  • The filming was a boon to the local economy. Navarre’s Holiday Inn “Holidome” was used as the film’s headquarters, with the ground floor converted into production offices and 100 rooms rented out for cast and crew.
  • Jaws 2 cost $30 million to produce, three times more than the original film.
  • Real hammerhead sharks circled the teen actors during the filming of one scene.  Because their characters were meant to be in distress, the crew, filming from a distance, did not realize that the actors were genuinely calling for help.

With that said, remember this…just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – it really is ok…the chances of being bitten by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million.

Happy Shark Week!

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