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5 things to know about prehistoric shark movie 'The Meg'

Johnny Diaz
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Sun Sentinel

Now that “Shark Week” is over. Here comes “The Meg.”

That’s the Warner Bros. Pictures shark blockbuster which stars Jason Statham and opens Aug. 10. The movie is based on South Palm Beach author Steve Alten’s suspense thriller "MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror" about an albino prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. The movie also stars Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Jessica McNamee and Li Bingbing.

Here are five things to know about “The Meg”

What is meg?

Megalodon, which means “ giant tooth,” refers to an extinct species of sharks from more than 2 million years ago and said to be the largest that ever lived.

“This was the apex predator of all time, and what’s interesting is they may still be out there,” Alten told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s no proof that they’re not out there because we’ve never explored more than 5 percent of the ocean.”

Literary inspiration

The movie is based on Alten’s New York Times 1997 best-seller about a prehistoric shark known as Carcharodon Megalodon, described as a 60-foot, 20-ton ancestor of great white shark. Alten, a Philadelphia native had sold meat for a wholesaler when he began writing the book in 1995. He had read a science article in “Time” magazine about the thermal vents in the deep ocean. He thought that it might have been possible for prehistoric sharks to survive there if they were trapped in warm water under miles of cold ocean currents.

The book became a must summer read was described as a Jurassic Jaws. It has since led to a series of other shark books including "MEG: Nightstalkers" and the newest sequel, “MEG: Generations.” This summer, a new paperback, movie-edition of the first book was released.

The Mariana Trench

Like the book, the movie is set in the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the oceans and located in the western Pacific. The movie follows a group of oceanographers exploring its depths where they unleash the giant shark on the coast of China, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Meg” Trailer

The film’s trailer, which was released in April, began building up buzz for the movie. The teaser opens at an underwater research station where a little girl looks out a window, only to come face-to-face with a massive prehistoric shark opening its jaws and attacking the glass.

The trailer has a campy feel than a suspenseful shark vibe. It features swimmers and Pippin, a terrier with a pink bow, splashing around a yacht as the shark wreaks havoc.

In one scene, the shark leaps into the air, capsizing a research vessel. Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” plays in the background the shark chases swimmers, surfers and boaters.

Catchphrase

In the trailer and commercial, Statham can be heard saying “Chew on this you ugly...” which we think will become another movie trivia question or a future “Jeopardy!” question. And the movie has been pushing “Chomp on this’’ as the tagline.

Casting

The movie’s director Jon Turteltaub of the “National Treaure’’ films, said that Statham, 51, was cast for the movie because the action star is believable. “To make a giant shark movie have cinema quality, you need someone like Jason Statham. He grounds it, making the movie more believable, not more silly,’’ Turtlelab told USA Today.

To research his role, Statham dived with about 25-30 bull sharks in Fiji.

"These things don’t mess about. If they want to get nasty, they get nasty,’’ Statham told the newspaper.

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