With news of The Meg 2 back pinging on the radar of social media, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to dive back into conversation with Meg author Steve Alten about the success of the first film, talk of the inevitable follow up (after all he’s already penned several book sequels) and what he thinks of the Jaws sequels.
Should The Meg 2 go down the route of the Breakdance sequel and be called The Meg 2: Electric Boogaloo? Take the Aliens angle with multiple Megalodon sharks with Megs? Or what about a Jaws crossover with Jonas hooking up with a mature Matt Hooper? The Daily Jaws investigates.
TDJ: First of all, congratulations on the huge success of The Meg on the big screen. It was something of a juggernaut that surprised the analysts, were you surprised by its numbers?
SA: Not at all, I was actually expecting higher totals. The "experts" had no cue about the number of MEGheads out there ad their voracity.
When did you first get to see it and what was the experience like?
I saw it for the first time at the premiere in Hollywood. Loved it.
Did you get to see it in 3D?
Yes. Not yet in IMAX.
I know the makers of Jaws kept on going back into regular screenings just to see audience reaction, is that something you did?
Not once. I was worried whether it was going to work on the big screen, but I really enjoyed it. It has that real
Godzilla monster movie feel to it, what aspects of the film did you think worked best?
I thought the scenes in the trench were great but can be a lot better in the sequel.I saw it with my eight year old daughter, she loved it - between initially hiding underneath her coat - and was jumping, squealing and laughing in all the right places. She can’t wait to see it again and again on Bluray. There were lots of families there when we saw it, which was great see.
Do you think that was part of its appeal and reason for a lower age rating?
I know a few were disappointed it wasn’t as gory as they had hoped. Yes. They wanted it mainstreamed. So did I.
Have you got any The Meg memorabilia from the film, such as posters?
Posters, book marks, towels, beach bags.
Did you have a favourite promotional poster for the film? If so, which and why?
I loved the one with Suyin in the plexiglas cage as the Meg clamps down from behind. It reminds me of an amazing image created by Erik Hollander with Maggie (Jonas's ex in the novel) in the container.
Talking of other monsters, you’ve also written The Loch, about The Loch Ness Monster, does that mean that producers are now also interested in your other work as film options as well?
Actually, producer Belle Avery had optioned The Loch about a year before she grabbed Meg. This was back in 2007 or 2008. Back then, Belle and I were the only ones who knew with absolute certainty that Meg was a billion dollar franchise. The LOCH is actually a better story, only darker.
I know a few have complained that The Meg isn’t exactly like the book, like with Jaws before it, do you just see that they are two very different mediums?
Agreed. When you only have two hours to tell your story things are going to be left out. Whereas in my novels, I am actually increasing believability by delving into the science. That's very important or the sequel writers to incorporate in The TRENCH. Take the water pressure as an example. In the Mariana Trench its 16,000 pounds per square inch. Things don't explode down there, they implode. That pressure is perpetually testing these subs for flaws. Megs are scary, but imagine being in a tiny sub, your hull creaking...then vibrating like a tuning fork right before SPLAT - your brain bursts in a silent burp of ocean.
Having now seen it on the big screen, seen what a huge bite it has taken out of the box office and reaction from fans new and old, do you think the 20 year journey to bring it to the big screen has been worth it?
It's bitter-sweet. The ups and downs and pressure took its toll. I've battled Parkinson's for the last 13 years, and some days it is a bear.
Would you ever do a commentary for The Meg?
What impact has the success of the film had on your books?
That remains to be seen.
Last time we spoke, we talked about a possible cinematic sequel to The Meg. You said possibly something based on Hell’s Aquarium, what’s the premise of that book?
The series escalates in Hell's Aquarium, the second movie must be The TRENCH. While a captured Meg pup (Angel) attempts to escape her pen, a new team explores the Mariana Trench and another ancient species is discovered...
Any word on if we will get a sequel on the big screen?
I'd guess 2-3 summers.
Apparently one of the executive producers, Catherine Xujun Ying, mentioned to Variety that a follow up is in the works. Is that something you are involved in?
I hope to be. There's a lot I bring to the table. In the end, it's all about making the best movie experience possible.
Personally, I’d love to see Jonas team up with an aging Matt Hooper in any follow up. I think that would blow people’s minds and put Jaws and The Meg in the same universe. Am I hired?
Sure, we can always use another good parking lot attendant. Now, if you really want to blow them away, have the Meg swallow Jonas and his mini-sub (as in the novel) and he finds Hooper in the Meg's stomach.
And talking of sequels to hit shark movies, how do you feel about Jaws 2, 3D and Jaws the Revenge?
Jaws 2 had some moments. The others were pre-sharknado duds.