Y’all know Jason Statham. Know what he does for a livin’. Punching, kicking, headbutting, exploding things, reattaching his severed limbs. The list goes on and on and on. Today the Stathinator adds another impossible feat to his ever-growing list of explosive accomplishments: going toe to toe with a giant prehistoric shark. That’s right folks, according to The Hollywood Reporter, The Transporter himself has signed on to star in Warner Bros.’ Meg.
Based on the novel by Steve Alten, this project has literally been in the works for about 20 years, going through numerous actors, directors, and studio homes. It’s 70 foot long, 40-ton sized carnivorous shelf roared back to life last year at Warner Bros., no doubt partially due to the overwhelming success of Jurassic World. At the time Eli Roth (Hostel, The Green Inferno) was attached to finally be the one to bring this super-sized Jaws-esque tale to the big screen, but he has since departed the project over creative differences. In his place is Jon Turteltaub, who is probably best known for the National Treasure duology. Not the most obvious choice, but here’s hoping he’s able to wrangle us up an entertaining man vs. nature adventure flick out of it.
No specific details for the plot are available at this time, beyond the fact that the majority of the film’s setting has apparently been relocated to a more China-centric place, since it is being co-financed with money from said country. The latest version of the script has been penned by James Vanderbilt (The Rundown, Independence Day: Resurgence). It’s hard to tell if the film will only be drawing from the first novel or if it will also pull things from the 5(!) follow-ups, but I would assume that Statham will be played series lead Jonas Taylor. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of Statham as a deep sea diver turned crackpot paleontologist!
Honestly though, do we really need any plot details now that we know our Crank-y action superstar is going to be facing down a shark that would make Bruce the Shark piss its pants (if it wore pants, that is)? While this film stands little chance of topping Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece, the world is in need of more killer shark films, especially crazy ones like this. Not since the Jaws franchise stopped and the Italian rip-off cycle (Great White, Cruel Jaws, etc.) ended have we been gifted with such cinematic joy. Sure, films like Open Water and The Reef have satiated that desire to a point and something as trashy as Shark Night was a bit more entertaining than it should have been, but it’s not the same. This summer’s The Shallows, coming from director Jaume Collett-Serra (Orphan), looks like a potentially good entry as well, but again, there’s nothing quite like seeing some ridiculously-large shark chomping on people in a big pulpy, exploitation adventure film.
I’m not sure if this is quite what Trace was hoping for when he wrote his editorial the other day, but we’re getting it regardless. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I, for one, cannot wait, especially if they include that T-Rex chomping prologue from the first novel. Bring on Statham v Meg: Dawnodon of Megalodon!