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    The Trench Director Ben Wheatley Just Wants You To Enjoy The Monster Mayhem [Exclusive Interview]

    Some of your movies, for lack of a better phrase, go hard. They’re pretty nasty stuff, whereas “Meg 2” is PG-13. I’m assuming this was mandated from the start. This was never going to be “Free Fire.”

    Yeah. Yeah, though “Free Fire” is not even that high, is it? Well, I can’t remember what the certification was about the States, but it’s not that gory, is it? It’s not like “Kill List” hard 18 kind of head-splitting stuff.

    I think that in terms of action, it’s like the Indiana Jones movies are the high watermark of that. It’s like you feel like you’ve seen a lot of action and it doesn’t feel as a viewer like it’s been toned down, but it’s still really … and I don’t think that’s to do with certification. You don’t have to have loads of blood gouging out of people to make things more impactful, in a way.

    Well, speaking of Indiana Jones, what else inspired you? You mentioned monster movies. What B-movies, what classics, what did you draw from when you said, “I’m going to make my big shark movie”?

    Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m a fan of the Kaiju stuff and a fan of “Gojira” and then the later cycle of “Godzilla” movies like the ’70s stuff as well, and Harryhausen, “Jason and the Argonauts,” all that stuff. Obviously “Jaws,” which is not just a shark film, but one of the greatest films ever made for me. And a film I revisit a lot and re-watch, it’s a film that is a film school in itself. And to see that [Steven Spielberg] did it when he was 26 or whatever disgustingly young age he made that movie at, which is basically inventing it and so much stuff. I definitely looked at that.

    Then there’s a bit of [James] Cameron in it as well. Obviously I’m a big fan of “Aliens,” and so there was bits and bobs with that. But it’s just a lifetime of watching this kind of stuff at high and low levels. It doesn’t matter if it’s kind of some low-budget TV thing or some massively expensive CG thing. I think it was trying to capture the excitement of watching stuff when you were a kid where you didn’t question any of it — there wasn’t any question that it was somehow sarcastic or trashy or you’re liking it to hate on it or whatever.

    I watched all those Harryhausen films believing them purely that they were real, and I wanted to catch that experience to a degree with this. You take it seriously even though there’s fun and silly elements in it, but you take it totally seriously as filmmaker.

    What’s your favorite monster movie that nobody really talks about? What’s a non-classic that you absolutely love?

    Oh, that’s tricky. Now I can’t remember the name of it, but there’s a British Godzilla film which has got … oh, what’s it called? Gwange? No, “Gorgo.” That’s it. There’s a British Godzilla, and it’s brilliant.

    So it starts with them fishing, I think maybe it’s Ireland or something like that, and they catch a baby dinosaur and they bring it back to London and then his mother turns up and destroys London. But it’s kind of weird. It’s a man in a suit obviously doing it and lots of miniatures, but then it’s kind of quintessentially British as well at the same time. And I remember seeing it as a kid on at four o’clock in the afternoon on TV and it blew my mind, that I thought, “Oh my God, they’ve done one of those for us. I can’t believe it.”

    “Meg 2: The Trench” arrives in theaters on August 4, 2023.

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