‘The Meg’ Director, Jon Turteltaub, Is Tired Of This ‘Hack’ Talk

Senior Entertainment Writer
08.08.18 2 Comments

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You’ve seen Jon Turteltaub’s movies, even if you may not realize it. Well, of course, there’s the hugely successful National Treasure films that grossed a combined $800 million. Before that there was his run of ‘90s staples: Cool Runnings, Phenomenon, and the still very much beloved today Sandra Bullock vehicle, While You Were Sleeping. And then this week comes The Meg. With that poster of a massive shark whose open mouth takes up pretty much all the real estate, it’s one of the most effective marketing campaigns of the summer. But, still, Turteltaub has a chip on his shoulder.

Not many directors openly admit they’ve been called a “hack.” Turteltaub not only brings up the subject but addresses those criticisms head-on. And, look, he has a point, his movies have made a lot of money and, for the most part, people do like them. But when speaking to Turteltaub, it’s easy to get the sense this is a director who has felt a bit beat up, critically, over the years and has gotten to the “fuck it” stage of his career. While, at the same time, history has been kind to movies like Cool Runnings and While You Were Sleeping, which are still beloved today.

Though it is notable that the director of While You Were Sleeping directed The Meg, a movie that features Jason Statham fighting a prehistoric shark. Like, literally: Statham and this monstrous shark have a fight. But that’s Turteltaub’s point: if you’re a director and you can’t be pigeonholed into one type of movie genre, you get the dreaded “hack” label. So, yes, maybe Turteltaub has earned that chip on his shoulder.

All these stories about wealthy people in San Francisco keeping sharks as pets feels like weird cross promotion for The Meg.

How creepy and weird. I didn’t even hear that story.

Apparently it’s a new trend.

I think someone pulled your leg.

No, I’m serious. It’s a thing.

Okay, here it is. Wow. This is horrible. It’s always a worry people see shark movies and think sharks are evil. Sharks are awesome.

Someone in that piece is quoted as saying that owning a shark is “payback” for Jaws.

Look, I don’t have trouble understanding the human side, humans are horrible creatures. Humans own lions and humans own leopards. That’s never been an issue. But we need sharks in the oceans – we need a lot more of them. One hundred million a year are killed. That’s an insane number. So the idea you’d keep a huge shark in your house is nonsense.

People have been trying to make The Meg for 20 years.

There are reasons some things don’t get made and there are also reasons things stick around that long. Usually, when something is sticking around that long there’s always enough interest to keep it alive.

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