Author Steve Alten talks ‘The Meg’

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We’re just over a month away from The Meg hitting cinemas, a film that had been in development hell for years.

First birthed from the mind of author Steve Alten, he couldn’t be happier that his creation is finally being unleashed in all its glory on the big screen.

We got a chance to quiz the best selling writer about the film and the future of the book series.

It’s taken a long time to bring The Meg to the big screen, is there a sense of relief on your side that your vision is finally being adapted?

 Relief comes when (God willing) the movie does well and the back-end check clears. This is more of an opportunity to put a spotlight on 22 years of my work – not just the MEG series but all of my novels and screenplays that are really great stories waiting to be discovered.

That excites me, because I have projects that would make incredible TV series and movies, only they’ve been relegated to the back-burner while MEG ignites the pilot light.

 Relief also comes when you don’t have to go out every day “hunting for publicity.” As an author, it’s not enough to spend an entire year or more writing a great book, you then must go out and drive the marketing and PR in order to sell books.

As more book chains have closed their doors under the gravitational forces of Amazon, shelf space has shrunk considerably, leading to lower sales. Lower sales equals lower advances on your next book which leads to the harsh reality that you cannot support your family. It’s not been an easy life – I’m not complaining as I’ve experienced higher highs than many other authors.

Unfortunately, these were accompanied early in my career by unexpected lows… my second book (and advance) cancelled without warning three months after we had moved into a new house and had to sell, two studio options on MEG (1996 & 2005) wasted on ego and greed… so yeah, to actually see MEG about to hit the big screen the RIGHT WAY after all these challenges and body blows… that is far more than a relief, it’s a blessing from God.

What did you think of the casting of Jason Statham as Jonas?

He was my #1 choice. When I heard WB made him the offer and he accepted, I did a Johnny Drama, thanked God, and yelled VICTORY!

How much creative input have you had to the film’s script?

Producer Belle Avery and I co-wrote the script which led to the financing, but other writers have run with the baton since then. I’ve read the final script and it’s good.

For fans of your book series, do you think they will be satisfied with the film version?

I think they will love the movie, but they’ve been weaned on the MEG series and that’s the movie that plays in their heads – thus the affectionate term: MEGheads. Having been in the trenches (pun unintended) with these dedicated fans for twenty years, I know in my gut that the potential of the franchise is simply massive.

The MEG does an amazing job in launching that franchise, however (assuming and hoping there are more MEG movies to follow), the second movie’s plot must realign back into the plot of the series where some magnificent eye-candy awaits.

The good news is it’s a tweak, not a drastic curve – all the basics are in The MEG. The great news is that the characters, tone, look, feel, special effects, set designs.. and MOST IMPORTANT – the Megalodon are TOP NOTCH.

What has been the response to Meg: Generations since its release?

With book six in the MEG series, I decided NOT to release the hardback in bookstores or on Amazon in order to create something that will become a collector’s edition for my MEGheads who receive my newsletters (at www.SteveAlten.com) and follow me on Facebook.

The hardbacks had to be preordered and will be finished printing in two weeks. Only 4,000 were printed, and I signed every copy. We ordered about 700 extra copies which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at my website store.

For everyone else, the ebook is now available, and the reviews have been excellent – MEG: Generations is being called the best book in the series… and I agree.

Have you had chance to see the final cut of the movie yet?

Not yet.

The Meg is being pitched with a certain degree of humour from the trailers, did you always envision the tone of the film to be a shade lighter than the book?

There is humor in the books, so yes.

The Meg is released in cinemas on 10th August, here’s why we think it will be the summer blockbuster you need –

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