Jason Statham goes head-to-head with a prehistoric shark in Jon Turteltaub’s “The Meg,” but the theatrical cut Warner Bros. is releasing this month is far from the movie Statham imagined when he first read the script. The actor recently spoke to Collider and expressed some disappointment with the finished version of his shark thriller, notably the fact that the theatrical cut is light on blood and gore.
“The script’s totally different,” Statham said of “The Meg” theatrical version, noting “a lot” changed from the idea he was first pitched. “Sometimes you just go, ‘How did it happen? How did it go from this to this to this to that?…It was radically different. I guess in some ways your imagination and your own perception of what it’s going to be is its worst enemy.”
Statham said Turteltaub envisioned “The Meg” as a “fun end of summer movie” full of humor, whereas the actor wanted the film to include the “gory adult stuff” that was included in the original concept. Statham responded to a comment that the film is fun by saying, “Yeah but you go, ‘Where’s the fucking blood?’ It’s like, ‘There’s a shark.’”
While Turteltaub wanted to make a big summer movie, the director told Bloody Disgusting that the decision to tone down the movie’s violence came out of the studio’s wish to release “The Meg” with a PG-13 rating. The filmmaker said he lined up “horrifying, disgusting, and bloody deaths” but they had to all be cut. Turteltaub said he had mixed emotions but felt comfortable with removing the film’s gore so that it could be a more accessible film.
“We shot or even did a lot of visual effects for [gory scenes],” Turteltaub said, “but 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. I wouldn’t have if I thought it was wrecking the story but it wasn’t. It still looked okay. I’ll sit down privately with your audience and take them through some really nasty shit.”
“The Meg” opens in theaters nationwide August 10.