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Eli Roth to Direct Giant Shark Thriller ‘Meg’ for Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)

After nearly 20 years of development, the bigscreen adaptation of New York Times bestseller “Meg” — about a giant, prehistoric shark — is swimming closer to the surface.

Sources tell Variety that Eli Roth is in talks to direct the Warner Bros. tentpole. Belle Avery will produce through her banner Apelles Entertainment, and Colin Wilson is producing the pic through Maeday Productions from a screenplay by Dean Georgaris based on the Steve Alten novel.

Gerald Molen, Wayne Wei Jiang and Randy Greenberg are exec producing. Gravity Pictures will co-produce and co-finance the pic and distribute the film in China.

The book revolves around two men who band together to neutralize an ancient shark that’s threatening the California coast. The Megaladon, considered one of the largest and most powerful predators in history, can reach a maximum length of 60 feet.

This time around the shark will be terrorizing the coast of China rather than California — a change that helped in bringing on Gravity Pictures as a co-financier. Andrew Fischel and Cate Adams will oversee development for Warner Bros.

Originally set up at Disney in 1997, “Meg” fell into limbo after Disney was unable to get it into production before another shark pic, “Deep Blue Sea,” hit theaters.

Even prior to “Jurassic World’s” recent dominance at the box office, Warner Bros. was high on Georgaris’ script, which they felt could be the basis for another prehistoric monster blockbuster.

In addition to “Green Inferno” bowing on Sept. 25, Roth is also about to host Discovery Channel’s “Shark After Dark” as well as “Shark Week,” beginning July 5, where he can be seen swimming with sharks.

He also has the Lionsgate thriller “Knock Knock” starring Keanu Reeves bowing later this year.

Roth is repped by WME.

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