The film of the decade is nearly upon us, and in less than a year's time (March 2, 2018) we'll be happily watching Jason Statham punch a giant shark in the face in Meg. With intense speculation still running rampant about whether or not the Megalodon still exists, this film will exist as definite proof that they should. For now, you can see the result of the scientific poll I took showing the jury is still definitely out:
In more exciting news for Megalodon fans everywhere, the first picture from the set of Meg, directed by Disney auteur John Turteltaub, has been released, depicting action hero Jason Statham opposite 1911 star Li Bing Bing. Check it out below:
Sporting the strongest tactleneck since records began, accompanied by perfectly quizzical eyebrow game, it's evident that this film will cement Jason Statham as one of the finest of his generation, deserving of his own franchise. However, not to be outdone by Statham, Bing Bing has her own on-point look: someone tell me below, where did she get that jacket from? All in all, this film is basically a hit from only the first day of shooting.
But did you know that it had been in development hell for nearly twenty years? When Steve Alten published Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror, it was optioned fairly quickly, but names kept attaching then dropping themselves from the project, including Jan de Bont, Guillermo Del Toro and Eli Roth. New Line cinema were also in preproduction in 2007, but (for unfathomable reasons) cancelled. All fingers crossed, we shall finally see this movie hit theatres, by 2018. After all, it's easier to adapt than Don Quixote! In honor of this great film finally getting started after such development hell, let's take a look at some of the most infamous cases, starting with:
- Dallas Buyers Club
When Dallas Buyers Club came out — despite justified criticism for Jared Leto playing a role that a trans person can do themselves thank you very much Jared with your false tears — it was routinely seen as a success, garnering three Oscars for Best Actor (McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor and Best Make Up. Yet unbelievably screenwriter Craig Borten first interviewed Woodruf in 1992, as he was close to dying. The script then went through an insane ten revisions in order for it to be bought — this was back when no one wanted to depict films showing people with AIDS, Philadelphia being the major breakthrough moment. With Dennis Hopper originally attached to direct in 1996, the film failed to secure backing, a pattern that continued all the way until 2013 where it was an unprecedented success.
For many fans, the eventual release of Deadpool was like a dream come true. Here was the R-rated, highly violent, profanity-filled, fourth-wall breaking, low-on-plot but high on self-referential attitude film starring none other than Ryan Reynolds that they had all waited for. And not only that, it grossed a ridiculous $760 million worldwide, guaranteeing a sequel.
But the road to success was a long one. Following the success of X-Men, the film was first talked about being made in 2000. Having heard that Deadpool describes himself as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei", Reynolds wanted to play the title character, and campaigned personally to make it happen. First appearing in the critically panned X-Men: Wolverine, he seemed half the character fans knew and loved: no fourth-wall breaking, nothing. The solo film was stalled further, until some test footage that was "leaked" online in 2014 received jubilant praise. Fox, still wary, gave them much less money than usually spent on a superhero movie, but director Tim Miller made the best he could of it, resulting in the excellent, final vision we received this year.
- The Postman
When David Brin wrote and published The Postman in 1987, he didn't know then that it would take another ten years to finally get made as a film. Fair enough to the man: when asked how he would like to play the title character, he said Kevin Costner (great choice!) and Kevin Costner was finally the man hired to direct and produce the movie. Nevertheless, by the time the vision made it to screen the script resembled very little of the novel and was a commercial failure: making a mere $17.6 million off an $80 million budget.
Warcraft is a movie based on a video game. If that didn't set off alarm bells, then I'm not sure what will. Nevertheless, given the popularity of the brand and especially that highly addictive MMORPG World Of Warcraft, producers were willing to give a film adaptation a punt. First announced in 2006, the original vision was scrapped after seeming too much like Lord Of The Rings, and the 2009 release date was pushed back to 2011. Turning down offers from Uwe Boll (bad idea) and Sam Raimi (great idea) the film was finally passed over to Moon director Duncan Jones, who rewrote the script. Finished in 2014, release was pushed again to avoid a clash with The Force Awakens, before finally being released in 2016. Made for $160 million, it bombed domestically, making a mere $24.2 million. Nevertheless, it's success internationally means that there will be probably a sequel, just not one released stateside.
Still Waiting To Be Made
- Blood Meridian
Described by many (including myself) as one of the great Western novels, Blood Meridian is screaming for an ultraviolent adaptation. Considered to be an unfilmable novel, all attempts to make the movie have been cancelled during the development stages. A screenplay was first produced in 1995, with Tommy Lee Jones rewriting it and wishing to produce. It wasn't greenlit however, as the studios baulked at the level of violence involved. The same reasons stopped Ridley Scott from making the film by 2008. James Franco (who likes to turn Faulkner and McCarthy novels into student films) also shot 25 minutes of test footage this year, but producer Scott Rudin denied further production. Maybe one day the French will buy the rights and make it however they please!