Meg Director

An adaptation of Meg (short for “megalodon”) has been in the works for almost 20 years. Back in 2007, director Jan de Bont (Speed) was attached to the a version produced by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak), but after two and a half years of production and millions of dollars spent, New Line pulled the plug.

The killer shark movie has seen signs of life over the years. Eli Roth (Knock Knock) recently signed on to direct Meg, but after being attached for less than a year, he’s dropped out. Now, the director of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Cool RunningsJon Turteltaub, is Roth’s potential replacement.

Learn more about Meg below.

The image above is actually concept art from the film. Based on Steve Alten‘s 1997 book, the story is about a Carcharodon megalodon, a mammoth shark — 80-feet long and 70,000 pounds in weight, to be exact — that inhabited the ocean millions of years ago. Alten dreamt the film adaptation would launch “a billion dollar franchise,” and that sequels would’ve been made by now.

The LA Times ran a feature chronicling Meg‘s history, and an old opening for the film certainly sounded like an attention-grabber:

THE scene opens with a herd of duckbill dinosaurs gorging on kelp. A Tyrannosaurus rex, towering 22 feet, suddenly appears, unleashing a blood curdling roar as its prey scatter, but one duckbill dinosaur remains trapped in the water.

The T-Rex crashes through the surf and ruthlessly rips him from the sea. It suddenly stops — sensing a powerful presence in the water. Its red reptilian eyes, glowing like lasers, scan the ocean. A massive creature hidden in its own towering wave explodes out of the water. The T-Rex is rocketed off its feet with an anguished roar, flipped onto its back with its feet in the air and spun like a cylinder as it is dragged beneath the water. A slick pool of blood floats on the surface.

That’s how Shane Salerno‘s (The CartelAvatar sequels) draft of Meg began, and we would be incredibly lucky as moviegoers if this opening remained intact. Sadly, it probably won’t. Salerno’s drafts deviated quite heavily from the source material, but were well received by the studio.

When the film moved to Disney, the studio literally stuck wings on the shark. That’s right — a shark with wings. Even that might’ve been too much for this XXL version of Jaws. The project really has had a long, crazy history in Hollywood, like plenty of other films stuck in development hell.

Most of Meg‘s problems are budgetary. At one point, the film would’ve cost over $150 million — a price tag New Line wouldn’t go for. Once again, the budget has soared on the project and Warner Bros. is nervous. The Hollywood Reporter says Eli Roth’s departure is because of the budget, which was upwards of $100 million. The project was potentially going to be put into turnaround again, but the executives involved are instead planning to scale back the picture with a rewrite.

Turteltaub is in early talks to be the Meg director. He’s had box-office success with the National Treasure movies, but his last major tentpole release, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, failed to launch a franchise. However, the director’s previous feature, Last Vegas, was a modest box-office success. The generally light tone of Turteltaub’s work is quite different from Meg, but he does have experience with large-scale movies. Maybe he’ll be the one to finally get Meg on the big screen.

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