Jaws is, and very likely will always be, the best shark movie ever made. But Deep Blue Sea, even though it is on the entirely opposite end of the spectrum, might very well be a close second. One major difference is that Jaws had several sequels and Deep Blue Sea never did. But Deep Blue Sea 2 was very close to happening and as it turns out, it might have been totally awesome. Or totally ridiculous, depending on how you look at it.
Director Jack Perez, who is maybe best known for his work on the low-budget but very infamous movie Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus, recently spoke with Birth.Movies.Death about the Deep Blue Sea sequel that he wrote. The movie was in the pre-production phase when Warner Bros. ultimately pulled the plug, but he was hired to write and direct the movie. Here is how he was brought on board for Deep Blue Sea 2, as he tells it.
"I went in with a pitch. I didn't know exactly what they were looking for, but it seemed that the natural way to go was to jack it up the way Aliens had jacked things up into a combat film. So that's what I pitched, and Matt Bierman, the senior vice president at Warner Premiere, essentially said, 'That sounds great.' It was one of those rare circumstances where you pitch something and they just say, 'Good, you've got the job to write and direct it.' It was funny, because I had gone up for different directing jobs at Warner Premiere and hadn't landed anything, but I think it was because Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus was in the air, and their thinking was, 'Well, this guy knows sharks, so he's perfect for Deep Blue Sea 2.'"
Warner Bros. reportedly didn't want to restrict Jack Perez all that much and he wasn't going to be anchored to the original Deep Blue Sea, at least in terms of continuing that plot. The only real element that needed to be intact was the idea of experimenting on and enhancing sharks. In Deep Blue Sea 2, this would have been taken to the next level and he apparently wanted to surgically alter the sharks to have machine guns, missiles and other such weapons. As much as that sounds like what Dr. Evil wanted in Austin Powers, he swears that wasn't on his mind.
"What they were interested in was keeping the theme of shark experimentation. The script is about this scientific research ship that is seized by Somali pirates, and a team of Navy SEALs have to go in and take them out. The whole ship is basically a gigantic floating laboratory, with a maze of tunnels that the sharks can travel through that open up into tanks. My thinking was that this was Sgt. Rock vs. sharks, so I developed this platoon kind of based on my favorite Sgt. Rock characters. To a certain degree, it was similar to what they did in Predator; there were definitely echoes of that sort of motley group...I honestly didn't even think of Austin Powers when I came up with that. My whole intention was to play it as straight as possible, so that the kind of stuff that was used in Austin Powers as a gag, or later in things like Sharknado purely as camp, would be done pretty direct and dark. On paper, it seems absolutely comical, but my intention was to make these sharks Frankenstein-style mutations that were tragic and violent. With the exception of the quipping between the soldiers, it wasn't going to be played for humor. It would have been tricky with the budget I had [under $5 million], but I figured I could keep the pace going and make it relentless, and that would have been the key to its success."
That sounds absolutely insane and likely something that fans of the first Deep Blue Sea would have watched. What is perhaps most surprising is to hear that the budget would have only been around $5 million. It is a little hard to imagine a movie as described for less than $50 million, let alone for $5 million. But maybe the micro-budge element would have been part of the charm. Sadly, Warner Bros. switched gears during the pre-production phase of Deep Blue Sea 2 and decided not to move forward with it.
"They were really happy with the script, I was already meeting with different special effects facilities and we were about to begin casting. That's when they decided it just wasn't physically possible, even though the budget was relatively low. At the time, DVD sales were suffering, and I think they just made an accounting decision to not do it, along with other movies."
Hollywood is littered with projects that almost were but never actually came to be. Deep Blue Sea 2 may not be up there with the likes of George Miller's Justice League or the Tim Burton, Superman movie, but we might have missed out on a truly bananas shark movie. Yes, shark movies get made regularly enough, but they are rarely good. Would Deep Blue Sea 2 have been good? Hard to say, but it, at the very least, sounded crazy enough to be a whole lot of fun.