How the director of ‘The Meg’ set out to make the most fun movie of the summer — and not rip off ‘Jaws’

Entertainment
The Meg 2 Warner Bros.

“The Meg” director Jon Turteltaub explains how he made sure not to do a remake of “Jaws” while making his shark movie.
“The Meg,” starring Jason Statham, is based on a novel about a massive shark known as a megalodon thought to be extinct since prehistoric times.

“You can win an Oscar if you do a shark movie where the shark represents some grand flaw in mankind’s soul,” director Jon Turteltaub told Business Insider over the phone in a moment of contemplation. “But in this case, I wanted to do a movie where the shark represents a big f–king shark!”

Turteltaub went into making Warner Bros.’ late-summer, $130-million-plus blockbuster “The Meg” (in theaters Friday) with one goal in mind: let the audience have fun. His favorite movie of all time is “Jaws,” and he said fun was the one thing he leaned on when deciding to take this project.

Steven Spielberg’s three-time Oscar winning classic isn’t just the greatest shark movie ever, but also launched the Hollywood summer blockbuster season. Turteltaub knew in his gut he could make “The Meg.” But the challenge he faced was to figure out how to make a summer shark movie that audiences wouldn’t feel was just a rip-off of “Jaws.”

“The Meg” is based on the 1997 Steve Alten book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” which follows the adventures of Navy deep-sea diver Jonas Taylor as he combats the thought-to-be-extinct massive shark known as a megalodon, which ruled the deep oceans in prehistoric times. (The gory sci-fi book launched a series of novels with titles like “MEG: Hell’s Aquarium” and “MEG: Generations.”)

It was the kind of story Hollywood had to get a piece of. The rights to the book were quickly acquired by Disney, then moved over to New Line where directors like Jan de Bont and Guillermo Del Toro were attached, and finally landed at Warner Bros., where Turteltaub took the reins.

“It was really quick, I think I signed on in March [of 2016] and we were shooting in September,” Turteltaub said. “Because of the novels, because of the many lives the project had before I joined, the ball was already rolling and some really smart work had already been done.”

Thanks to Chinese financier Gravity Pictures coming on board to help with the costs, “The Meg” got the blockbuster treatment, with a majority of the production shot in New Zealand (doubling for Singapore) and lots and lots of work put in for CGI and 3D.

Though Turteltaub had practically seen it all in Hollywood — having directed everything from “Cool Runnings” to the “National Treasure” movies — he was shocked by how much work had to be done in post production for the movie.

“When you have this much CG you know it’s going to take at least a year to finish the movie,” he said. “But you also leave a shocking amount of time to do all the 3D work. I couldn’t believe how much time and effort and expertise goes into that. We really needed five months …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Entertaiment

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