"That's Ben Gardner's boat!"

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Ben Gardner might have been doing to catch or kill the shark that his decapitated head ended up just inside the hull of his boat.

Any theories?

He was knocked out of the boat and as he tried to climb back on, the shark chomped down on him but was just short of the head.

His head wasn’t severed. You can see his shoulders and his sweater in the scene. His entire body was moving around inside the boat, and his head is what happened to pop out of the hole. And presumably a fish or crab picked out his eyeball.

That’s always what I thought. When we later see the size of the shark, and how it loves to push around boats, this is probably what happened.

You can find more info online, but that whole part of the film, where Brody & Hooper go out on Hooper’s ultra-modern yacht, was filmed months after the rest of the film was finished. Originally it was Brody, Hooper and one of the Mayor’s aides for some reason (he was actually the screenwriter) and they went out in a small, outboard runabout. Like so much of the rest of the film, that shoot nearly turned into a disaster. Richard Dreyfuss in fact had never actually driven a boat in his life and the Mayor’s aide guy was heavy-set, in a three-piece suit, and fell overboard and almost drown.

They actually shot the scene where Dreyfuss skindives around Carson’s boat (and finds the tooth & head/torso) in a swimming pool…

I’ve ranted about this before, so if you’ve heard this before, feel free to :rolleyes:

The whole Ben Gardner scene has the feel of being tacked on (as HailAnts alludes), and results in some script errors.

In the scene with Brodie, Hooper and the mayor under the billboard, they count the number of fatalities, but don’t include Ben Gardner. Hooper says he found a tooth but dropped it, but doesn’t mention that he dropped it because he was startled by Ben Gardner’s freakin’ head. Quite an oversight.

That doesn’t make sense though - they’re talking about Ben Gardner’s boat in the scene, so why would the fact that they filmed the scene later mean that they forgot to count him? The line is “We’ve already had three incidents, two people killed inside of a week.” My interpretation is that the 3 are Chrissy, the Kintner boy, and Ben Gardner. Kintner and Ben were within the past week, Chrissy was before that.

And did they film the billboard scene later too? They refer quite specifically to Hooper dropping the tooth - it seems like they were certainly intending to have a scene with Hooper and the boat when they wrote and filmed that scene.

“I pulled tooth the size of a shot glass out of the wrecked hull of a boat out there, and it was the tooth of a great white.”

“It was Ben Gardner’s boat - it was all chewed up. I helped tow it in, you should have seen him!”

“Where is that tooth? Did you see it Brody?”

“No, I didn’t see it. He dropped it.”

“I had an accident!”

That dialog doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t refer to another scene actually in the movie.

He was embarrassed that he got freaked out when he saw Ben Gardner’s head floating at him. Quite understandable, and hardly an “oversight”. I’m not sure Hooper’s wetsuit smelled too good after he got back on his boat. :wink:

My interpretation (purely speculation, but it jives with the dialog)

Spielberg intended to film a scene with Ben Gardner’s boat, but he didn’t intend to show Ben Gardner’s head. Hooper had some mundane reason for losing the tooth, like it slipped out of his fingers.

Spielberg thought that wasn’t socko enough, so he added the head later, after shooting the billboard scene. For Hooper and Brodie to mention that they saw Ben Gardner’s chewed up boat without mentioning that they saw his chewed up head defies belief.

The three incidents: Chrissy, the Kintner boy, and the 2 guys with the roast on the dock.

The first part I’ll buy. But something impressive had to have been planned to explain why Hooper dropped the tooth - he’s clearly embarrassed about it, and it’s important - without the tooth, Vaughn assumes he’s just trying to get his picture in National Geographic.

And Gardner’s head isn’t chewed, isn’t separated from his body. It’s just a dead body bobbing around inside a boat. One eye is missing, but that’s because of a fish or crab, not a 25 ft shark.

As regards the 3 incidents - Why would the 2 guys with a roast on the dock be one of the incidents, and Ben Gardner’s boat, which is mentioned in the scene not be? No one was killed or even injured on the dock. Hendrick just thought it was a funny story to tell at the docks.

Here’s some shots. Gardner wasn’t decapitated.

It’s not clear how Gardner was killed. Maybe he was leaning overboard when the shark attacked him and he bled to death from the wounds inflicted.

OK, I think we can coalesce into a Unified Theory of Ben Gardner’s Boat. The boat was the 3rd incident, but the head was added later. As originally planned, Ben Gardner was merely missing, and there was some other reason why Hooper dropped the tooth.

I’ll drink to you theory.

Cheers. [clink]

Farewell and adieu unto you Spanish ladies
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain