Both The Meg director Jon Turteltaub and star Jason Statham have been making the rounds in recent weeks to promote their new giant shark movie, which hits theaters nationwide tomorrow. Typically, these types of interviews can be expected to simply contain happy platitudes about how wonderful the experience of making the film was, coupled with some suggestions that you should really go to see it.
That is not the case, this time.
Both Turteltaub and Statham have oddly enough been using these opportunities to publicly air their grievances about the Warner Bros. film, most notably objecting to all of the cuts that were made—first to the script itself, and then to the film’s gorier, bloodier portions, made in order to secure a blockbuster-friendly PG-13 rating. Turtletaub in particular seems incensed that the finished film doesn’t live up to what he envisioned:
“I am so disappointed the film wasn’t more bloody or disgusting,” Turteltaub said in an interview with Bloody Disgusting. “The number of really horrifying, disgusting and bloody deaths we had lined up that we didn’t get to do is tragic. We shot or even did a lot of visual effects for [gory scenes]. We just realized there’s no way we’re keeping this PG-13 if we show this. It’s too fun a movie to not let people who don’t like blood and people who are under, say, 14 years old into the theater. I was very hesitant to cut out a lot of blood and gore.”
That sounds an awful lot like throwing your studio under the bus, does it not? Not what you would expect from a veteran director like Turtletaub, with decades of experience under his belt, but perhaps he was really banking on making The Meg into a classic gore fest of a monster movie.
Statham, meanwhile, addressed several of the same issues in an interview with Collider:
“Script’s totally different,” said Statham, in comparison with the script that made him sign on. “There was so many different … sometimes you just go, ‘How did it happen? How did it go from this to this to this to that?’ You just can’t keep a track on it. I guess if you have the control to keep it a certain way you would, but you don’t. They have a movie to make. They have so many people deciding on what action stays and what scenes stay. How the characters … In the end they want to put something at the beginning. The whole thing at the beginning where I do a rescue on a sub? That was not in the script that I read. That was all brand new stuff, good or bad. I’m just letting you know.”
He also addressed how he might have made the film differently, if he was in the director role:
“I’m just saying it was radically different. John’s interpretation of this is a fun end of summer [movie]. It’s full of humor. It’s a little bit more directed to a different taste of what my own is… I like more gory adult stuff. I’m a lot older but I can’t speak for what this film could possibly speak to a younger audience. I might have made a film that not many people wanted to see. I’m not a filmmaker. I’m sort of an actor that’s going to portray a role. I go there but I’ve learned not to get too attached with your own idea of what something could be. But you go, ‘Where’s the fucking blood?’ It’s like, There’s a shark.”
There is indeed a shark, as far as we can tell. But apparently a pretty bloodless shark, which will no doubt be a letdown to a certain demographic in the audience. Critical consensus on The Meg is fairly split so far, with the film hovering around the 50 percent mark on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch the Statham-heavy final trailer below.