Giant shark blockbuster The Meg delivered exactly what it promised by gifting audiences with a big budget creature feature that revolved around Jason Statham and a supporting cast comprised almost entirely of cannon fodder doing their best to take down a prehistoric killing machine. It was far from spectacular, but it was perfectly functional crowd-pleasing entertainment nonetheless.
It also hauled in over $530 million at the box office, $150 million of which came from China, so a sequel was always going to happen. The first installment was directed by the reliably workmanlike if hardly spectacular Jon Turteltaub with very little in the way of visual flair, but that’s more than likely set to change after Ben Wheatley was chosen straight out of left field to helm the in-development sequel.
The Meg‘s $178 million budget is considerably higher than the total combined production costs of the filmmaker’s entire back catalogue, which is what makes the prospect of the man behind the likes of Kill List, High-Rise, Free Fire and more making the jump to calling the shots on an effects-driven studio epic all the more exciting.
In a new interview, Wheatley revealed his enthusiasm for tackling The Meg 2, and admitted that he’s champing at the bit to play on a bigger canvas than ever before.
“A lot of it is respecting The Meg, and trying to make sure it’s a great Meg film. And as you can see from the movies I’ve made, they’re not necessarily, it’s not… When you go and do Doctor Who, I don’t completely change it because I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to necessarily make it something completely different that nobody recognized, you know? So there’s that element of back and forth.
But it’s an opportunity to do action on such an insanely large scale, that it’s just unbelievable. From doing Free Fire, which was, I thought, was all my Christmases came at once in terms of action, this is just unbelievable. And just doing the storyboards for it, just thinking and going, ‘Oh,’ it’s just, I feel a heavy responsibility for it, to make sure that it kind of delivers on all the, to all the big shark fans out there.”
The 48 year-old has nine features under his belt, all of which occupy a distinctly different space genre-wise, so there’s literally no way of guessing how Wheatley plans to approach The Meg 2. The premise leans into his sensibilities when it comes to both horror and thrillers, but Free Fire showed he was no slouch in the action department, either. Throw that together with a concept predicated on a massive shark with an appetite, and you’ve got the makings of a hugely exciting movie.