Jaws, Sharknado, that episode of Friends with the shark porn, there have been some great finned foes brought to our screens, however, one sticks out as nugget of '90s campness. #DeepBlueSea, Renny Harlin's #scifi #horror, made a splash in mid-1999 and brought #ThomasJane, Saffron Burrows, and #SamuelLJackson fin to face with some super-intelligent sharks. I still stand by the statement that Russell Franklin is one of the best Jackson roles out there, and I would rather wrestle a shark than refute that claim.
Back in 2009, it was claimed that Warner Premiere was planning on releasing a direct-to-video sequel to Harlin's film before all plans appeared to sink. While the sequel became shark bait, we can now reveal what the Deep Blue Sea-quel would've involved — and it sounds pretty damn intense!
It Was All Going Swimmingly
First off, Warner Premiere was launched in 2006 and is responsible for such churned-out continuations as Return to House on Haunted Hill and Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective, so don't count on Deep Blue Sea 2 being any kind of watchable.
The plot sounds like something out of an Austin Powers film, and while the sharks wouldn't have "frickin' laser beams" attached their heads, they would've been mounted with machine guns at some point. Remember when there was that rumor that a fourth Jurassic Park film was going down that route? We can only assume that Universal had been peeking at the ideas sheet for Deep Blue Sea 2.
The studio looked to Jack Perez, of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus fame, who recalled the moment he pitched Deep Blue Sea 2 to the execs:
“I didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, but it seemed that the natural way to go was to jack it up the way Aliens had jacked things up into a combat film. So that’s what I pitched, and Matt Bierman, the senior vice president at Warner Premiere, essentially said, ‘That sounds great.’ "
"It was one of those rare circumstances where you pitch something and they just say, ‘Good, you’ve got the job to write and direct it.’ It was funny, because I had gone up for different directing jobs at Warner Premiere and hadn’t landed anything, but I think it was because 'Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus' was in the air, and their thinking was, ‘Well, this guy knows sharks, so he’s perfect for 'Deep Blue Sea 2.’"
Fishing For Ideas
Just because you have made one crazy shark film doesn't mean you own the whole genre; I once solved a Rubik's Cube, but I'm not the world champion now. Perez's idea seemed to discard the original film's premise and turn the shark pheromones up to 10, trying to combine everything from Aliens to Predator with a Cameron-esque sequel:
“What they were interested in was keeping the theme of shark experimentation. The script is about this scientific research ship that is seized by Somali pirates, and a team of Navy SEALs have to go in and take them out. The whole ship is basically a gigantic floating laboratory, with a maze of tunnels that the sharks can travel through that open up into tanks.”
It sounds like there were a badass group of expendable grunts to further emulate the '90s scifi vibe. You can only imagine that the characters would only be referred to by surnames like Hoss and Johnson:
"My thinking was that this was Sgt. Rock vs. sharks, so I developed this platoon kind of based on my favorite Sgt. Rock characters. To a certain degree, it was similar to what they did in Predator; there were definitely echoes of that sort of motley group.”
The project got much further than anyone could've imagined and Perez even shared a video of his concept, complete with shark tunnels and navy seals:
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A Sinking Ship
Perez claimed that he honestly never thought about the Austin Powers comparison, although in hindsight it seems pretty obvious now. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until Warner unexpectedly shot holes in the bow of the production and watched it plunge into the depths it came from:
“They were really happy with the script, I was already meeting with different special effects facilities and we were about to begin casting. That’s when they decided it just wasn’t physically possible, even though the budget was relatively low. At the time, DVD sales were suffering, and I think they just made an accounting decision to not do it, along with other movies.”
With a proposed budget of only $5 million, it sounds like Deep Blue Sea 2 would've involved gluing some fish fingers to a cocktail stick and dubbing over a soundtrack of Bill Paxton as Hudson. By 2010 Warner Premiere was only making animated films and the label folded completely in 2013.
Joining a long list of proposed sequels that never happened, perhaps leaving Deep Blue Sea 2 at the bottom of the ocean is for the best, I mean, how are you going to top Jackson's iconic scene? For those still pining for the underwater adventure, fear not, you can always just watch Jurassic World, which is frequently dubbed "Deep Blue Sea with dinosaurs."
Check out Jackson's scene in Deep Blue Sea and don't forget our poll below!
Are you sad we never got 'Deep Blue Sea 2'?
[Poll Image Credit: Warner Bros.]