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Abandoned Deep Blue Sea sequel had weaponized sharks

04.07.2017by: Cody Hamman

Deep Blue Sea Thomas Jane Renny Harlin

Shark thrillers are hit and miss - they're sure not all JAWS (not even the JAWS sequels are JAWS) - but back in 1999 director Renny Harlin delivered one hell of an entertaining entry in the sub-genre with DEEP BLUE SEA, a film that pit the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Stellan Skarsgard, and LL Cool J against sharks that were scientifically manipulated into being "bigger, smarter, faster, meaner."

Researchers on the undersea laboratory Aquatica have genetically altered the brains of captive sharks to develop a potential cure for Alzheimer's disease. There is one unexpected side effect. The sharks are getting smarter. Which could mean trouble for the researchers. And lunch for the sharks.

You can swim but you can't hide when a tropical storm floods Aquatica, plunging the crew into a harrowing battle of wits against sleek killing - and thinking! - machines.

Soon after Warner Bros. released DEEP BLUE SEA, rumors began floating around that the studio intended to make a sequel, possibly titled DEEP RED SEA, which would have the surviving "super sharks" hunting down fresh meat in another flooded location. This time, instead of a flooded lab, it would be set in a skyscraper hotel that has toppled over into the sea during an earthquake. I have no idea if there was any validity to that rumor, but it was popular on the internet back in 2000.

In 2008, we heard that Warner Premiere, the branch of WB responsible for a batch of DTV sequels released around that time, were giving some consideration to making a DEEP BLUE SEA sequel, but we didn't hear much about the project beyond that.

Speaking with Michael Gingold of Birth.Movies.Death., director Jack Perez - who took the helm of the DTV sequel WILD THINGS 2 for TriStar and had a cult hit with MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS (which he made under the pseudonym Ace Hannah) - confirmed that he was actually hired to write and direct DEEP BLUE SEA 2, and shared the pitch that got him the job. A pitch that took the idea of "shark experimentation", the only element Perez was required to carry over from the first DEEP BLUE SEA, even further.

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.” Into this seabound shark Habitrail go Sgt. Nate Pickett, NSA geneticist/marine biologist Dr. Alexandra Cruz and Pickett’s multiculti team of bad-ass soldiers. “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.”

Taking several steps beyond the makos in the first Sea, which are simply bigger and smarter than average, Perez’s sharks have been surgically altered to incorporate machine guns, torpedoes and other weapons. 

Given the fact that this is the same guy who made MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS, you might expect that his "weaponized shark" movie would have been goofy as hell, but Perez says he was not going for humor with this one.

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."

I have made my enthusiasm for the abandoned JURASSIC PARK 4 concept of mutant dinosaurs carrying weapons clear in the past, so of course I'm also all about the idea of Frankenstein sharks blasting away at their victims with machine guns and torpedoes. Unfortunately, Perez's DEEP BLUE SEA 2 was cancelled before production could begin, even though Warner Premiere was happy with the script. Perez calls the cancellation "an accounting decision" made in response to lagging DVD sales. The budget for DEEP BLUE SEA 2 was going to be under $5 million, but that was still more than WB wanted to spend on a straight-to-disc sequel.

If only this project had been put together a couple years earlier, today we might have a DEEP BLUE SEA 2 about weaponized sharks sitting on our DVD/Blu-ray shelves.

A video of visual references and concept art Perez put together for the lost sequel can be seen below.

Deep Blue Sea Saffron Burrows Renny Harlin

Extra Tidbit: What do you think of this sequel idea?
Source: BMD

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