Why the Meg Absolutely Needed Jason Statham as Its lead

Despite the surprising success of SyFy's Sharknado series, trying to sell a film like The Meg was no easy task. Thankfully, the film already had an established action star set to lead the story of an ancient megalodon with Jason Statham. While those behind the Warner Bros. film were set on the actor from the get-go because of that tough guy persona, there was another reason he was cast.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed that they'd wanted Statham not just because he was a known tough guy on screen, but because this would be a "different" type of role for him. While it was vital that The Meg put a tough guy in the lead, Bonaventura said the story ultimately needed an actor that could switch between the action and the emotional weight of trauma the character endured throughout the film -- thus leading them to Statham.

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"We really wanted Jason for this movie because he had never done a movie like this," he explained. "We thought it was an opportunity both to show him in a different light and also give us the opportunity of using his talent in a different way than it had been used before. He's not a fighter in this movie, it's not about that. We wanted a man who's gone through real trauma and there's nothing better than a tough guy who's gone through trauma because to see him impacted by it means it really has a weight. And what does this character have to overcome as a result of that?"

It was a casting choice that undeniably paid off as The Meg surpassed all expectations at the box office, chopping down an impressive $527 million at the worldwide box office since its release over the summer -- enough for executive producer and vice president of China Media Capital Catherine Xujun Ying to officially announce a sequel was already in development, with Statham presumingly set to return as Jonas Taylor.

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Director Jon Turteltaub’s The Meg stars Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Masi Oka, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Rainn Wilson. The film is now available on digital HD as well as Blu-ray and DVD.

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