The Meg 2 has found its director. British director Ben Wheatley has signed on to make the giant shark sequel in the same week his adaptation of the English gothic novel Rebecca premiered on Netflix.
As the Hollywood Reporter stated, Jason Statham will return as the grizzled hero, a shark expert who fights a giant CGI prehistoric shark called a "megalodon," hence the title of the movie, now a full-on franchise.
Jon and Erich Hoeber wrote the most recent draft working off an initial screenplay for The Meg 2 by Dean Georgaris (all three shared credit in the first movie). Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Belle Avery will return as producers. Catherine Ying, Li Ruigang, E. Bennett Walsh, Gerald Molen, and Randy Greenberg are credited as Executive Producers.
Jon Turteltaub, director of the National Treasure movies, helmed the first movie, which became a worldwide hit, earning $530.3 million globally. Giant sharks chomping on lots of people seems to be a winner. The Meg, an adaptation of the novel by Steve Alten, was a Chinese co-production that also starred Chinese A-lister Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, and Ruby Rose round out the cast. For fairly obvious reasons, Wilson will probably not be back.
Ben Wheatley is one of the most interesting British directors currently working. He has a penchant for the cultish, the esoteric, and the off-beat, making his reputation with horror and crime indie movies like Kill List and Sightseers. He succeeded in bringing J.G. Ballard's High Rise to the screen in 2015 after so many others failed for decades, giving Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons starring roles in the dystopian dark comedy that starts with Hiddleston cooking a dog. Wheatley then made the Tarantino-esque Free Fire, which starred Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, and Armie Hammer in a gun-running deal gone horribly wrong and trapped its characters in an abandoned warehouse shooting at each other. He also cemented his genre credentials from directing episodes of Doctor Who, Time Trumpet, Ideal, and Strange Angel. Wheatley is also currently attached to direct the next Tomb Raider movie starring Alicia Vikander. His adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's gothic novel Rebecca starring Armie Hammer, Lily James, and Kristin Scott Thomas premiered this week on Netflix to middling reviews saying it fails to improve upon the Alfred Hitchcock version from 1940. Who would have expected the director of the wild and trippy supernatural English Civil War drama A Field in England would end up directing a blockbuster about a giant prehistoric shark? It remains to be seen if The Meg 2 will feature Wheatley's feel for the odd and disquieting.
Rebecca is currently streaming on Netflix.