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Ben Wheatley talks The Meg 2: "There’s something very blue-collar about all of it"

The Meg
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

"It’s different in terms of the scale," Ben Wheatley says of The Meg 2 when comparing it to his new movie, In the Earth, during an interview with Total Film for the new issue of the magazine (headlined by The Suicide Squad). "You’re just concentrating really hard on thinking as big as possible. You can’t hold anything back. I have a voice in my head, which is an independent filmmaking voice, which goes, ‘Ooh, there are a lot of extras in this...’ But you can’t be timid. The storyboarding has been fantastic." 

Attached to Tomb Raider 2 before the pandemic, Wheatley seems a much better fit for a sequel to The Meg, which was fun and spectacular but had one foot – or rather, fin – in the horror genre. "The thrill side of it is super-important," he nods. "But it’s summer thrills, rather than gory thrills. Things can still be edge-of-your-seat without them having to be what happens in In The Earth [his harrowing new horror movie]. That’s what we’ve been concentrating on – the handling of tension, of action, and looking at a lot of... well, basically Spielberg."

He laughs. "My appreciation for his work goes up and up as I get older. And certainly Jaws – he was a kid when he did that. It’s just unbelievable."

Wheatley has chatted with returning star Jason Statham and says the real prep begins in July. And while the story and other cast members are currently under wraps – all we can be sure of is that the megalodon destroyed at the end of the first movie isn’t the only one – Wheatley does stress another reason why he feels Meg 2 is a good fit for him. "There’s something very blue-collar about all of it, the nuts and bolts, and they’re not superheroes," he says. "Even though they do quite outlandish stuff, there’s a vulnerability to them, which is exciting. There’s something about the superhero genre where, much as I enjoy it, as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, there’s problems with the way they’re just invulnerable. That lessens the tension. I like human risk. That side of it is interesting to me."

Reece Shearsmith in In The Earth

(Image credit: Neon)

For the full Wheatley interview, on both The Meg 2 and In the Earth – plus a whole lot more – grab a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits shelves (and digital newsstands) on Friday, April 30. Check out the new (super-size fold-out) covers, as revealed by The Suicide Squad director James Gunn…

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Jamie Graham

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.