What's it like to get eaten by a shark in a movie?

Warning: Graphic Content

As Blake Lively is terrorised by a Great White in The Shallows, we take a look at what happened to five of cinema's greatest shark victims.

5. Jaws 3D (1983)

Victim: Fred Bouchard played by Alonzo Ward

Alonzo Ward is proud of his role in shark movie history. It's just a shame that not everyone else is.

"On the pictures on the back of the Jaws 3 DVD, you see Louis Gossett Jr, Dennis Quaid and Bess Armstrong looking at the glass before the shark breaks in," he says. "But I am in that picture, I was in front of the stars. They airbrushed me out for the back of the DVD."

Back in 1983, Ward, then a jobbing theatre actor, played Fred a control room operator who is killed by the shark as it improbably crashes through the glass (remember this was in 3D).

"The shark had already swallowed Simon MacCorkindale feet first," remembers Ward.

"He is chewing me in half but spits me out. I had to be out of the way so Dennis Quaid could pull a grenade pin and blow the shark up."

When it came to being eaten by the shark, Alonzo remembers, "It was daunting but exciting. My wife took a polaroid picture of me putting my arm in the mouth."

After a break to a run a "budget" blinds business, Ward is back acting in independent films, commercials and voice-overs. Yet he still retains a soft spot for the critically lambasted Jaws 3D - so much so that he is still spreading the word.

"When I go into Barnes & Noble and see Jaws, I'm thumbing through to see if Jaws 3 is behind it," he says.

"If not, I'll go up to the counter and say "You need to get Jaws 3!" I would order it; then decide I didn't want it just so they had a Jaws 3."

4. Open Water (2003)

Victim: Daniel played by Daniel Travis

A hit at Sundance in 2003, Open Water offered a different take on the shark peril delivered by the Jaws franchise. Starring Daniel Travis and Blanchard Ryan, it is a taut psychological thriller about a couple stranded at sea with only sharks and their unravelling sanity for company.

What makes it even more frightening is that the film was inspired by the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan who, in 1988, went out with a Scuba diving group on the Great Barrier Reef and were accidentally left behind after an inaccurate head count.

Yet in recreating the story, filmmakers Chris Kentis and Amy Lau eschewed the use of mechanical sharks a la Jaws and CGI sharks like Deep Blue Sea. Instead they put Travis and Ryan in the water with real sharks, chiefly grey reef and bull sharks which Travis describes as "pretty aggressive".

"On the first day of shooting, we pulled the boat up, turned off the engine and 45-50 sharks showed up instantly before we put any bait in the water."

While the shoot lasted 32 days, only two were spent shooting with sharks because, according to Travis, "that was pretty much half of the budget of the film because they hired the very, very best people that they could to make sure that we were as safe as we could be". Still, Travis was stung by a jellyfish and Blanchard nipped by a barracuda.

Open Water was Travis's first feature film and he followed it up with a small role in Thank You For Smoking. But mostly he has plied his trade in TV, from Sex And The City, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and almost every stripe of CSI.

But given his chance to return to shark-infested waters, there is no debate.

"I am completely up for it. I would do this again in a heartbeat."

3. Jaws (1975)

Victim: Alex Kintner played by Jeffrey Voorhees

Jeffrey Voorhees was just 12 years old when he played Alex Kintner, the unfortunate kid on the yellow inflatable raft who becomes the second victim of the shark in Jaws. Forty-one years later, it is a performance that still reverberates around the world.

"My brother lives over in Spain and I hear from him occasionally and he'll say 'Good news, you just died on TV over here'," he says.

Voorhees auditioned for the role along with his friends and landed a coveted speaking role ("A speaking part was $140 a day which I got, and my friends only got $40."). His death was initially shot with a mechanical device employed to blow the lilo out of the water and spurt blood but the contraption never worked.

"After about five attempts filming the scene they got two guys in wet suits with oxygen tanks to pull me down and give me air whilst I was underwater," he remembers.

"That's the take that made it into the film."

These days, Voorhees runs a bar and restaurant on Martha's Vineyard - he used to serve a very bloody Alex Kintner burger - that has become a mecca for Jaws geeks from Europe, Australia and Japan.

"This one fanatic came in this year and rolled up his sleeve and there was this big Jaws tattoo with my name and Steven Spielberg's on it!" says Voorhees. "I couldn't believe it. I'm only in the film for one minute."

2. Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Victim: Russell Franklin played by Samuel L. Jackson

It's one of the great movie deaths. Around half way through Renny Harlin's genetically modified shark picture Deep Blue Sea, Samuel L Jackson's Russell Franklin is rallying the troops in a flooding underwater research station.

As the music swells, Jackson's speech is the stuff of true heroism ("Nature can be lethal, but it doesn't hold a candle to man") and he looks set to lead his team to safety and victory. But as he commands "First, we're going to seal off..." a giant CGI shark leaps from the pool behind him, crushes him and drags him underwater. To add insult to injury, Samuel L Jackson is torn in half.

"That was the plan that I get it early on," remembered Jackson. "It ups the ante on the whole movie for the rest of the people, because if these sharks can kill me, they can kill anyone at any time. You never know who's going to survive and who's not."

Killing off the biggest star to stun and audience is a standard trick ranging from the sublime (Janet Leigh in Psycho) to the ridiculous (Steven Seagal in Executive Decision). For some actors, it might prick their ego. Not Jackson.

"Renny Harlin came to me and said [adopts a thick Finnish accent], 'It's going to be the most incredible death! It's going to shock everyone!' I said, 'OK, Renny, I'm down with that.' I died a lot in movies in my early career and I've never been killed by any 'thing' before."

1. Jaws (1975)

Victim: Chrissie Watkins played by Susan Backlinie

"She was the first," ran the tagline adorning the iconic Jaws poster of a torpedo-shaped shark zeroing in on skinny-dipping party girl Chrissie Watkins.

"She" was played by Susan Backlinie, the then 28-year-old stunt performer whose raw reactions added as much to the terror of the scene as John Williams's music and Spielberg's deft touch of never showing us the shark. The result is possibly cinema's most nerve-shredding scene.

"It's amazing that it's gone for so long," says Backlinie. "The main thing people say to me is that you kept me out of the water ever since I saw that movie. I just laugh."

Prior to Jaws, Backlinie was a competitive swimmer - she had played an underwater mermaid in a water show - and occasional stunt performer. She came to Martha's Vineyard to audition for the part nervous because the casting call was for an actress rather than stunt woman. Still, she found working with Spielberg a (sea) breeze.

"The filming was really pretty easy because Steven told me exactly what he wanted. What he wanted was everyone under the seats with the popcorn and bubble gum when the scene was over. He was great."

It was Spielberg himself who first pulled Backlinie underwater. "He had a cable that came to the front of my stomach and went to an anchor that was laying at the bottom of the ocean...and then he just sat and when he wanted that pulled, he just would pull."

Backlinie reprised her fateful swim for Spielberg's Second World War comedy 1941 in which the shark is replaced by a Japanese submarine but retired from movies soon after that. Instead she spent 10 years cruising around the world before returning to California to work on fishing boats and Scuba diving charters.

Now retired, she sails the Channel Islands with her husband and cocker spaniel Bosun. But the power of that naked swim never diminishes.

"I worked on dive boats for many years and a lot of the guys I worked with were much younger than me," she remembered.

"They would say to me, 'You know, you were the first woman I saw with no clothes on.' What do you say? You just hope it was a good view."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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