"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Meg 2: The Trench - Shanghai International Film Festival

Chinese action star Wu Jing and British action star Jason Statham made an appearance at the Shanghai International Film Festival and gave audiences a sneak peek of the upcoming China-U.S. co-produced sci-fi monster blockbuster "Meg 2: The Trench" at several press events.

Chinese action star Wu Jing and U.K. action star Jason Statham share insights into the making of "Meg 2: The Trench" at a press conference in Shanghai, June 6, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

Statham explained that the "trench" in the film's title refers to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's ocean. He elaborated on how the trench and its breached thermocline contribute to the ominous nature of the movie. As the movie characters go deeper into the ocean, the situation becomes creepier and more sinister. 

Statham also shared his experience of shooting the film underwater, saying, "I think the whole thing is just being able to remain calm while you're underwater and running out of air, which intuitively is not an easy thing to do."

Wu talked about the jaw-dropping helicopter action scenes in the movie. He explained that under normal circumstances, safety protocols must be followed when riding a helicopter. Therefore, during filming, he can let loose and play around more as strict safety measures are in place and insurance coverage is provided. He tried to perform some riskier stunts, but the producer prohibited him from doing so. Despite this, he still expressed his desire to try even more thrilling and exciting helicopter stunts.

Director Ben Wheatley said, "Wu Jing is relentless with his ideas and creativity on set. That's the hardest thing about working with him – trying to keep up with what he's telling me and what he wants to do, and then hopefully trying to get it on the screen."

Chinese action star Wu Jing and U.K. action star Jason Statham pose for a photo on the red carpet at the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which opened on June 9, 2023. [Photo courtesy of SIFF Organizing Committee]

Catherine Ying, the president of CMC Pictures, shared that "Meg 2" will upgrade with new marvel scenes, including an underwater walk and a wonder of the sea at a depth of 7,600 meters, which has never been seen before on screen. The movie also features a world of giant creatures –not only megalodon sharks but also prehistoric monsters such as a giant octopus, amphibians, and other ancient animals from the Cretaceous period.

Ying added that the ocean is as mysterious as outer space, with many unknowns. The original aspiration of this franchise is to explore the ocean and its mysteries, aiming to inspire the curiosity of young people to discover the ocean.

Director Frant Gwo made a surprise appearance at the press conference and revealed a hidden tribute to "Meg 2" in his sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth 2." He also noted that Wu, who is also the leading actor in "The Wandering Earth 2," had shared his experience of making "Meg 2" with him. Gwo expressed hope that the experience gained could be used to further improve the industrialization of Chinese films in the future.

The cast and crew of "Meg 2: The Trench" pose for a group photo at a press conference in Shanghai, June 6, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

At the recent Weibo Movie Awards Ceremony and Douyin Movie Wonder Night, which were side events at the film festival, "Meg 2" won "Specially Recommended Film of the Year" and "Most-anticipated Film of the Year," respectively. Directed by Ben Wheatley and produced by China's CMC Pictures and the U.S. media and entertainment conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery, the film has generated significant buzz among movie fans and promises to be a blockbuster hit when it debuts on Aug. 4.

James Gibbons, president and managing director for the Western Pacific region of Warner Bros. Discovery, praised "Meg 2" as the best demonstration of U.S.-China collaboration. "We are also very excited about working with Chinese talent, Chinese producers, and Chinese partners to take these stories to the world, and there's no greater example."

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