- Meg 2: The Trench is a thrilling blend of horror, suspense, action, and comedy, inspired by classic monster movies like Jaws and iconic creature features.
- Director Ben Wheatley wanted to create an adventure with vulnerable characters that audiences could relate to and worry about, avoiding the typical superhero formula.
- The sequel expands on the original film by introducing additional sea monsters, upping the stakes and providing new threats that cannot be easily escaped, ensuring non-stop excitement throughout.
Following the events of the first film, rescue diver Jonas Taylor returns in Meg 2: The Trench along with other survivors from the first mission for another fight with the megalodon. A new research team goes on an exploratory mission to the deepest parts of the ocean, but things become more dangerous than ever when a mining operation threatens their voyage. This conflict turns into a high-stakes battle, and with Megalodon and other creatures rising from the depths, nowhere is safe.
Meg 2: The Trench is directed by Ben Wheatley from a script penned by John Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris. Jason Statham, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, and Sophia Cai reprise their roles from the first movie in Meg 2: The Trench. The movie also stars Wu Jing, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, and Skyler Samuels.
Screen Rant spoke with director Ben Wheatley about his new movie, Meg 2: The Trench. He reveals how movies like Jaws, which he watches yearly, influenced his directing style on Meg 2: The Trench and how he wanted to make it bigger than the first. Wheatley also discusses collaborating with Statham and Wu Jing.
Ben Wheatley Talks Meg 2: The Trench
Screen Rant: Ben, I had so much fun watching this movie. This is a blended genre film that has horror, suspense, action, and comedy. It even has a kaiju moment in it, which I absolutely love. In the past, you've cited Hitchcock's original Rebecca, The Shining, The Piano, and Don't Look Now as visual inspiration for your films. What did you take as inspiration for Meg 2: The Trench?
Ben Wheatley: A lifetime of watching monster movies. It comes from, I think, being a kid and watching [Ray] Harryhausen's stuff; watching Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and all those movies. I remember watching Jaws as a kid on TV, and that blowing my mind.
In fact, I've probably watched Jaws every year since and always see new things in it. It's not just the greatest shark film of all time, but one the greatest films of all time. So, I take a lot of influence from that. And then I really love the kind of 70s Godzilla stuff, then Shin Godzilla, and the current cycle of legendary Godzilla movies. It's all that stuff.
But then also, on the human side, it's kind of like Thing From Another World, or those '40s science-based adventures with lots of characters trying to solve stuff, and that all feeds in. And Them!, the giant ant movie. It's a lot.
What can fans from the first Meg movie expect from the sequel?
Ben Wheatley: Well, basically, I got on board with this because I really loved the first Meg. So I wanted to make sure as much as we could learn as much from that as possible. That we would give the fans they're fix of the Meg, and they won't come to it and go, "Whoa, this is not the Meg I knew. This is a different Meg." So we wanted to bring all that which is, for me, I felt that it was this idea that it was an adventure that had characters that were vulnerable.
They were trying to solve things, but they could be killed at any moment. And that was what resonated a lot with the audience because it was more something they could understand on their level, rather than about a superhero film where they could never be those people. They look up to them, but you can't be them. I felt like that was my big takeaway for me. It was like, "Oh, my god, yeah. I worry about these people and I like them. They're just working people who are trying to get through a day and they're trying really hard to solve stuff."
And they're very positive. In a way that like modern cinema can be a bit cynical. There's not a cynical bone in any of these guys bodies,. They're pushing forward all the time. So it was that, but then we knew also that we needed to amp it up. When we come back with this, it's not going to be the helping of exactly the same thing. It's got to be that and then plus another big helping of something.
I love the first Meg, but you don't necessarily need to have seen that movie to enjoy the experience with Meg 2, which was fantastic. Jason Statham is obviously returning for this film. Can you talk to me about collaborating with him? Because if I'm not mistaken, he was really involved with the production of Meg 2: The Trench?
Ben Wheatley: Yeah, exactly. He's across the script. He's across every aspect of the Jonas character. He's also incredibly juiced into an understanding of action cinema, his own iconic image, and what makes a hero. What makes an audience love a movie and love an action film. So it's great to have that kind of wealth of experience and intelligence on your side. It's a wealth of knowledge.
So, we'd work very closely on all that. It's a big negotiation on set all the time, but it's only because there's so many voices who want to make the film as good as it can be. It's the same with Wu Jing. He comes from that Chinese cinema background where they're big talkers on set and all up for throwing a script away and doing something completely different. So there's a lot of that kind of thing. But all in the service of making a better movie.
I want to ask about Wu Jing, because I love his character in this film. And I love his chemistry with Cliff Curtis, it's so much fun. Can you talk about their chemistry on set? And how that was related behind the scenes as well?
Ben Wheatley: Wu Jing wanted to play a character. His persona is not dissimilar to Jason's in the action movies. He's done like Wolf Warrior and Wolf Warrior 2, and not so much Wandering Earth, but he didn't want to come on, and then do the same character as Jason. So there was a discussion there. And he wanted to do something different. He'd be the science character and Jason would be the kind of physical character. So that happened.
And then, yeah, he's working with Cliff Curtis and it they've just really funny. They're really funny people, the two of them, and there was lots of little bits of improvisation that we did together with them. It was nice to see Eu Jing teaming up with Cliff but also Wu Jing teaming up with Paige Kennedy. They both worked really well together.
Absolutely. Can you talk about making Meg 2 bigger by incorporating other sea monsters in the sequel?
Ben Wheatley: We knew the Megs were the stars and we needed to feature them as much as possible, but we also wanted to expand it out. We also needed something that could be a threat to a Meg. What could that be? What would that look like? We wanted to also have stuff that was smaller and faster that you couldn't just hide away from the Meg something else was gonna get you.
So it was all these kind of levels of threat that we wanted to weave into the movie and then kind of organically these creatures started to appear to us that we saw that kind of bat that side of it out. We didn't want that you could just get on the land and that'll be it you're safe. You're not safe anywhere in this.
Now, the third act of the film is outrageously fun. It is so much fun and visually stunning. Can you talk about any specific challenges that you were facing when you're making a movie like The Meg?
Ben Wheatley: We had a lot of storyboards drawn, so we could keep everybody grounded. So they understood what was going on. We did a lot of previz, and post viz and all that kind of stuff. And then a lot of discussion. So we'd shoot and then I'd go back in the evening with John Amos, the editor, and we would look at all the stuff, and we go, "Oh God, is it going to fit?"
And then negotiation editing, negotiation with the producers, and you're talking to Jason and we're like "Yeah alright. Okay." So it's a massive job, but you've got massive resources at the same time. So it's not as terrifying as doing a low budget thing which there's no where to go if it goes wrong you're screwed.
On this the only problem we had was everything we shot the studios we're fine, because we could always go back and reshoot. But when we were shooting in Thailand, that was a definite dead stop at the end of that. So we were like "Christ!" And it was so complicated that stuff, but I think it was on the last day we looked at the rough cut and went " Oh yeah, okay. We managed that."
Yes, that third act is just so much fun. There's just so much going on. I was on board with every single second of it. Can you talk about balancing the action, comedy, and suspense that's in this film? Because you do such a great job of walking that fine line of balancing everything.
Ben Wheatley: Yeah, it is like kind of tuning a car or an engine and you've got to go as high as you can go on every element of it. But you know that if you go too high, you break the next element coming in. So there's a bit of just kind of bringing stuff down. So we had a few really amazing sight gags, but then they kind of broke the world a bit. So we had to pull them back. And that makes sense. It's slightly painful. But it's a gamble all the time of how far can you push the audience?
Because you want them to really enjoy themselves, but then you don't want to go, "Oh..." and then they don't take the rest of it seriously. So that was the position really, but we figured the audience were down for it. So we could push it further than we might have done on something that was super serious frowny face kind of documentary style thing, but also we didn't want to go so, so crazy that people go, "Ah, what's that? That doesn't make any sense."
It seems destiny stepped in with you getting a chance to direct Meg 2, since you watch Jaws every year. I know that you're a big Godzilla fan. Is there a chance you would like to direct anything in the new Godzilla and King Kong universe?
Ben Wheatley: Yeah, of course. That's one of the great series of movies that's around. They're always good; I always enjoy them. Definitely, there's unfinished business for me with giant monsters. I'll definitely return to that if I'm allowed.
About Meg 2: The Trench
A daring research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. Their voyage spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high-stakes battle for survival.