The notoriously tumultuous making-of story behind Steven Spielberg‘s hit Jaws and the writing of its best-selling source material by Peter Benchley is getting the documentary treatment.

Timed to the 50th anniversary of the 1975 film, Nat Geo has greenlit Jaws @ 50 (working title), a doc feature that will focus on both the Spielberg film and the writing of the horror bestseller by Benchley. A summer 2025 release is planned on National Geographic and for streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

Laurent Bouzereau is set to direct. The filmmaker just completed the non-fiction project Faye, centering on the career and legacy of Hollywood star Faye Dunaway. Bouzereau wrote the book Spielberg: The First Ten Years, where he talked to Spielberg about the making of Jaws, and he is also in production on a film about composer John Williams.

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The doc will include footage and photography from the Benchley and Spielberg archives, and will also look at how the blockbuster gave rise to a new generation of shark obsessives. The doc will be made in collaboration with ocean conservation and marine policy advocate Wendy Benchley, the wife of Peter.

Spielberg’s Amblin Documentaries and Nedland Media are behind the doc, which will be produced by Benchley and Laura A. Bowling. Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will exec produce, with Nedland Media’s Bouzereau and Markus Keith and National Geographic’s Ted Duvall.

Jaws the novel by Peter Benchley and the film by Steven Spielberg, defined both popular literature and cinema,” said Frank and Falvey. “The idea of diving into the past, present and future legacy of Jaws, combined with an informed and inspiring discussion about sharks and the ocean in one documentary, is a unique opportunity to explore the perfect union between art and science.”

The production Jaws of was notoriously over budget and over schedule, as a 26-year-old Spielberg had to contend with a constantly malfunctioning shark and inclement weather. The making-of story was the basis for a Broadway play The Shark is Broken, which already was also on stage on the West End and hailed from Ian Shaw, the son of Jaws actor Robert Shaw.

“Being on Jaws became a living nightmare, and not because I didn’t know what I was doing or because I was struggling to find the movie in my head. I knew the film I wanted to make. I just couldn’t get the movie I had in mind on film as quickly as I wanted,” Spielberg told Bouzereau in Spielberg: The First Ten Years, as excerpted by Vanity Fair. “The end never seemed to be in sight, and yet I was the only person who could reassure the crew that there would be an end to this some day.”

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