Here’s to swimming with the bow-legged women: According to Variety, Eli Roth is in serious talks to finally bring the mother of all fin flicks, Meg, to the big screen. Meg of course is the bestselling 1997 novel by Steve Alten that went on to become a successful five-part series. In the first one, scientists find out that the prehistoric race of giant sharks named Megalodons has actually survived down in the deep sea, and due to a tragic accident, one of them comes up to the surface. Obviously, the shark then goes on an Indominus-like frenzy, with the head scientist Jonas Taylor deep in pursuit. Now in contrast to usual dtv crap like Two-Headed Shark Attack or mid-budget theatrical flicks like Shark Night or Deep Blue Sea, Meg was always destined to be a large scale blockbuster, showcasing massive destruction and demanding state-of-the-art VFX. Boats get obliterated and whole coastal towns are demolished. Did I mention that it opens with a flashback to the Cretaceous age, showing a Megalodon eating a Tyrannosaurus?
We at CHUD have a special connection to this adaptation, as our own Nick Nunziata was at one time involved in the production as a producer. He’s knows Alten personally and even co-wrote the novel Grim Reaper: End of Days with him. Back in the day, Disney first bought the rights in 1997, but didn’t do much with it (probably due to Deep Blue Sea underperforming in 1999). Jan de Bont was attached to adapt it for New Line Cinema, but the project had as much a chance as Chrissie Watkins in the opening scene of Jaws. Just days ago, Warner Bros surprisingly picked up the rights and now has brought on board Eli Roth to direct. Roth hasn’t signed on yet, but the financing is already up, and with Jurassic World having turned into one of the most successful movies ever, Meg’s chances actually never looked better. Curiously, there’s still a de Bont connection left. Even though de Bont himself seems to be retired, his last movie was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, and current Meg screenwriter Dean Georgaris happens to have written that very movie. There’s one big change of story. Most of the movie will be set on Chinese waters, as the Chinese connection helped secure funding. The movie will hit theatres in 2017.
As for the series of novels… I’ve read all of them, and they’re great beach reads. Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror is truly a great adventure story, its protagonist Jonas Taylor is highly charismatic, and it ends on an amazing showdown. If they actually manage to film that, it’d be incredible. The second novel, The Trench, continues the story in interesting ways and brings in a Kronosaurus. Part 3, Meg: Primal Waters, features lots of action with a reality TV show trying to film stunts with the sharks. Meg: Hell’s Aquarium has a Dubai billionaire trying to create some sort of Jurassic Park for himself, and the prequel novella Meg: Origins goes back to the original novel. A sixth novel titled Meg: Night Stalkers has been finished for quite some time, but Alten aims to release it as promotion for the movie. I had the honor to contact Alten a few times by e-mail and can say that he’s a really nice guy.
Two more things regarding shark stuff. If you never played the video game Jaws: Unleashed, you really need to revisit that. It’s pretty much Grand Theft Shark: Amity and let’s you play Bruce in an open world game. You can earn skill attributes, eat tons of people, fight other sea creatures, and there are many references to all four movies. I highly recommend it if you loved flicks like Jaws 2-4 and Deep Blue Sea. Just avoid the console versions, as they happen to have really terrible controls. Oh, and check out Drew’s CHUD Fin Flicks series of reviews of shark movies.
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