Eli Roth to direct giant prehistoric shark movie MEG

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This weekend past, Universal’s big hit from the 1990’s about giant prehistoric animals returned to make a humungous, record-shattering splash at the box office. I’m guessing that Warner Bros is hoping that that could do the same, as they are finally bringing Steve Alten’s Meg to the screen, and they’ve roped in Eli Roth to do it for them.

Variety is reporting that the Hostel and Cabin Fever director has signed on to direct an adaptation of Alten’s 1997 New York Times bestseller “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror”, a sci-fi thriller about a paleontologist who discovers that a 60-foot Megalodon shark – a monstrous creature, one of the largest and deadliest predators ever, that has been thought to be extinct for millions of years – has actually survived in the deepest parts of the ocean and is now threatening to start hunting close to the surface. The novel was a massive hit and has spawned five sequels in the years since.

A feature film adaptation of Meg has actually been in development since the first book was originally released, but nobody has been able to get it going yet. Disney originally had the best shot, but it fell apart when they couldn’t get the job done before competitor shark pic Deep Blue Sea made its debut. Eighteen years and many studio attempts and script drafts later, WB are finally starting to get the ball rolling, more than likely thanks to Jurassic World‘s incredible recent success.

This latest attempt will be using the last draft of the script by Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life screenwriter Dean Georgaris, which WB is apparently very high on, but which admittedly, isn’t much of a confidence booster for me.

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The tapping of Roth to helm could be an inspired choice though, because although he’s never helmed a big budget CGI tentpole before, his career has definitely had strong B-movie and suspense thriller (with heavy doses of gory violence) moments, all of which will probably come into play here.

There’s no release date as of yet, but Roth has been very active lately after years of relative quiet. He has cannibal horror flick Green Inferno and the Keanu Reeves home-invasion thriller Knock Knock both releasing soon. More relevantly though, he’s also about to host Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and Shark After Dark. Research maybe?

Georgaris’ script is said to transplant the book’s action from the coast of California to China, a move that no doubt played a huge part in getting Gravity Pictures on-board, as the Beijing based production company will co-finance the film and distribute it in China. This move would make Meg just the latest high-profile blockbuster (others include Transformers 4 and Iron Man 3) which adds Chinese elements to its script as a means to appeal to what is rapidly becoming one of the biggest movie markets on the planet.

Here’s the full synopsis for Alten’s novel taken from his official site.

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.

Written off as a crackpot suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Taylor refuses to forget the depths that nearly cost him his life. With a Ph.D. in paleontology under his belt, Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub.

Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

Last Updated: June 18, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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