jason statham meg

Steve Alten‘s Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror was first published in 1997 and the film adaptation has been in development for almost as long. Every few years, someone commits to a film adaptation of this tale of Man versus Giant Prehistoric Killer Shark and every few years, the whole thing falls apart. Now, nearly twenty years after the initial plans to make this movie, a new batch of names have become associated with the project.

Carcharodon megalodon, meet Jason Statham. Jason Statham, meet Carcharodon megalodon.

This news arrives courtesy of Variety and it comes only a month after National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub signed on to direct the film. Embedded in this latest report are all of the necessary clues to understand why Meg may get made right now instead of any time in the past two decades – the film will be co-financed by China’s Gravity Pictures, who will help shoulder some of the film’s budget. In exchange, the location of the film has shifted from the California coast to China. Welcome to the new international era of Hollywood filmmaking, folks.

Alten’s original novel followed Jonas Taylor, a Navy diver-turned-paleontologist who discovers that a 60-foot long species of prehistoric shark has managed to survive in Mariana Trench. Naturally, things go wrong for everyone as the Megalodon and its family realize they have an entire ocean to explore and go about devouring anyone and anything in their path. Taylor would go on to encounter additional Megalodons in several sequels, which means that we could be looking at an entire series of movies where Jason Statham matches wits with a gigantic shark.

But this first film has to get made first and that’s still far from a sure thing. Having assistance from China is certainly a strong start – most of the previous versions of the film have fallen apart due to a skyrocketing budget – but Turteltaub or Statham could drop out tomorrow for any reason and the whole thing could come undone again. It happened to Eli Roth this year and it happened to Jan de Bont and Guillermo del Toro a decade ago.

I want this movie to get made. I want it to get made because giant shark movies shouldn’t be quarantined on SyFy. I want it to get made because I enjoy watching Jason Statham and think I will especially enjoy watching him try to play a scientist. But most of all, I want it to get made so the story of Meg‘s time in Hollywood actually has an ending and fans of the book and giant sharks don’t have to sit around and ponder the what-ifs.

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