One of my big issues with Jon Turteltaub’s The Meg is that the shark is completely indistinguishable from any other movie shark (the movie doesn’t even do a great job conveying its massive size), a bummer given it’s supposed to be a shark the likes of which we’ve never seen on the big screen. In Steve Alten’s novel, the titular beast is eerily albino, but the shark in the film looks like just about every other shark you’ve ever seen in a horror movie. As far as I’ve heard, an all-white shark just didn’t look so good in early CGI tests, so it was scrapped. Sigh.
As Alten recently recounted in a chat with us, the road to getting his Meg on the big screen was an incredibly long and arduous one, with New Line Cinema at one point in charge of adapting his 1997 novel. It was producer Nick Nunziata who spear-headed the project, and Jan De Bont (Twister) was attached to direct for New Line in the early-mid 2000s.
That iteration, of course, was never made, and the rights to the novel eventually reverted back to Alten. After an endless in-development period, Warner Bros. finally made it happen.
Brought to our attention by our friends at Fin Flicks, Nunziata recently shared some concept art and even a maquette of the shark from the early stages of Jan De Bont’s unmade adaptation for New Line, which give us an idea what De Bont had in mind for the film. His version of the shark was to be albino, like the one in Alten’s book, and damn did it look nasty.
“Thirteen years ago I started this machine, going through many evolutions and meetings and people of varying degrees of talent,” Nunziata wrote over on Instagram. “Alas, my gang of folks were shaken off the project and my biggest break as a producer never came to be. I mourn not being able to work with my guys, not my absence from this incarnation of the movie. It certainly is a different film than we were trying to make.“
He added, “I hope ol’ Steve benefits profoundly from it.”
Check out that early art below, along with another piece of concept art we found on Twitter.
Concept art for Jon de Bont’s abandoned version of THE MEG from the mid 2000’s pic.twitter.com/Cz4oPGHAey
— Stephen Scarlata (@StephenScarlata) August 9, 2018