Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, written by the great Steve Alten (www.stevealten.com), has seen more turnarounds than a suburban neighborhood. Now, after landing at two studios in the last 11 years (first at Disney, then at New Line), it looks like the third time may be the charm.
It all started in 1996, when Steve was working at a meat plant and trying to write the novel, which is about one man's obsession with the legendary, prehistoric Carchadon Megalodon (aka, a 60 foot long great white shark ancestor). He had sold his old classic car to pay for an editor, and when all hope seemed lost (he was fired from the job and had a family of five to feed), he sold the publishing rights to the book, along with the film rights.
I read the book (dubbed "Jurassic Shark!" by the L.A. Times) when it was published in the spring of 1997, and immediately fell in love. I read many of his other books and was excited as could be to see the film. Steve even answers his email, so I was able to become an even bigger fan.
Then, Disney put the movie in turnaround, aka, the movie was dead and Steve had the rights back.
But all was not lost. In 2004, I met Steve in South Florida at a book signing of his then-latest novel, Resurrection (a sequel to the excellent Domain), and he told me their might be some rumblings from Hollywood about Meg. The third book, Meg: Primal Waters, was to be released that summer, and David Foster, a producer in Hollywood (among his films, the tremendously awesome John Carpenter's The Thing), was attached to produce.
That winter, Steve spoke at a film school where used to teach, and we found out that New Line was developing it with Jan de Bont (Twister, Speed) attached to direct. ALL RIGHT! We're back in business! 2006 couldn't come fast enough. Then 2007 couldn't come fast enough. Then 2008...You get the point.
New Line put the movie in turnaround, even with a revised and updated version of the book out and proclaiming "Soon to be a major motion picture."
Well, now it looks like the Meg film adaptation may have a new chance at life again.
Apelles Publishing Inc. has bought the rights with two major producers onboard, Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin, who are bringing us Hellboy II and Watchmen. They will produce the film independently (can you say, "$150 million budget?!"), which means no studio to interfere with the production, or put it in turnaround. However, a studio will step up to distribute the film, much like Fox and five of the six Star Wars films. No word on de Bont directing still.
make sure you visit Steve's website at www.SteveAlten.com, and check out all his great books. My favorite books are Meg and The Loch, an excellent novel about the Loch Ness Monster.
Source: L.A. Times via Mania