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

Eli Roth
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

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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  1. Jeffrey Allen says:

    Variety when is production starting? How come no new news????Who is the lead?

  2. Leo says:

    R rated no forced female leads and Eli Roth makes this s winning combo.

    • Forced female leads? Baiting much? (No pun intended) As if females has been shoved down our throats for the past 100 years? What are you talking about?

      And by the way, Roth has two movies coming out with female leads, so there you go.

  3. Jeffrey Allen says:

    This will be huge if given the correct budget and visual effects quality people now demand. Nobody can stand low quality visual effects anymore and there has already been to many low B movie shark films already. Stop! But the world is ready for an exciting thrill ride science seeking adventure featuring SHARKS that everyone is so thrilled to learning more about. The CGI is finally there and we saw this with JW. Steve Alten is an awesome guy and I have known this would be a great film since 1999. I am first in line! Variety great job keep us posted. Interest is very high!!!!!

  4. Can I just ask why you bothered hyperlinking the word Meg? It just leads to all things tagged “meg” on variety, which, you know, is not very helpful. Maybe instead link to the book Meg like it seems like you were doing?

  5. elric301 says:

    20 years of development.
    And in the meantime, Roger Corman has a third Sharktopus movie coming out this Summer.

  6. brody says:

    they’re gonna need a bigger director…

  7. Barbeesha says:

    So it’s come to this. “Sharknado” for the Chinese market.

  8. Geri says:

    Sign me up! But PLEASE get a decent screenplay like Spielberg had for both Jaws and Jurassic Park. Learn from the errors of Jurassic World and let us identify with some of the victims. Please don’t have everyone able to out swim the Megalodon.

  9. Nanny Mo says:

    Are there no “new” ideas in Hollywood? What, it’s a shark. I can already see the entire film. Water, teeth, blood… it’s a shark! Jump the shark, Roth, jump it!

    • Vi says:

      Obviously, you have not read the book. If you had, you wouldn’t have said such a stupid thing! This book, if done correctly, would make Jaws look like a G rated movie! It is that incredible! Everyone who read the book has been waiting forever for this to be made! I, for one, am thrilled about it. If you aren’t, then don’t go. Even though there isn’t anything new in Hollywood, this isn’t a rehash! It is a brilliantly written rollercoaster ride with an adversary that would scare the hell out of anyone. So, keep your opinions to yourself!

      • Rob G. says:

        My only concern is that it is an adaption, written by somebody not Alten, based on the book. They have already changed the location to China instead of California?!?! It just makes me afraid that they will lose an incredible story for production politics. While “Jaws” the novel was completely different than “Jaws” the movie, both were still well worth the time to watch or read and still work even today. We already have enough “Sharknado” movies, I hope that they do the novel justice. And yes, I’ll be there opening night.

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