When I was cleaning up my bookcase recently, I came across the book Meg by Steve Alten. I am a big fan of books about sharks so I decided to read the 1997 book about a gigantic prehistoric shark again. What I immediately noticed in the acceptance speech at the beginning of the book was that Steve Alten Walt thanked Disney Pictures for filming the book and that surprised me, because I could not remember ever having seen a film version of this book. I got IMDb to see what exactly the status is …
It turned out that the film had been in the so-called ‘developmental hell’ all this time. This means that a project is constantly evolving, being rewritten, always changing from film studio, producer or director. For example, Guillermo Del Toro, Jan De Bont and Eli Roth have all been potential directors of The Meg. In fact it was mainly Steve Alten who made sure that the film finally came. Although Walt Disney initially bought the rights for 1 million dollars, Disney feared competition from Deep Blue Sea (1999) and there were always reasons to postpone the project. More than twenty years and many directors later it finally happened. Walt Disney now has nothing to do with The Meg, Warner has bought the rights. The direction eventually ended up with Jon Turteltaub, known from the National Treasure films. Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Winston Chao, Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy and Rainn Wilson can be seen in The Meg, which (if everything goes well) will premiere August 10, 2018.
In the book Meg, the first part of a long series, Professor Jones Taylor is asked to descend to the deepest point on earth: the Challengers depth of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. His last dive to the almost 11 kilometer deep Challengers depth ran disastrous because he thought he saw a megalodon, a prehistoric shark of almost 20 meters long with teeth as big as the palm of a grown man. Nobody believes him, but Jonas continues to research the fish. When he dives again, his greatest fears turn out to be the truth.
The script of the film deviates from the book, although there are still large similarities. In the film Jonas Taylor is asked to make the dive to save a submarine with occupants, the book is an unmanned vessel for research purposes. The characters have not been adopted one on one, there are characters added and characters have fallen off. The book also has various subplots with romance and intrigue, to what extent there is room for it in the film is unclear.
The book is well written and Steve Alten has done a lot of research on the subject. As a result, the story is largely credible. If they have been able to translate this credibility into the film, then that is certainly an advantage. Alten’s description of the Mariana trough is beautiful. I hope that in The Meg they show some of the creatures that live there. The large beak, fishing rod and giant tube worm will certainly give you the necessary goose bumps.