Wu Jing, the highest-grossing male actor of all time in China, will star alongside British action star Jason Statham in Warner Bros.’ “Meg 2: The Trench,” according to sources close to the production. However, Li Bingbing (Transformers: Age of Extinction) will not be in the giant-shark action film. The Chinese actor who portrayed a beautiful and intelligent oceanographer in Jon Turteltaub’s testosterone-fueled 2018 film “The Meg” is not returning to the franchise at this time. The production of “Meg 2: The Trench” began at the Warner-owned Leavesden Studios outside of London at the end of January, with Ben Wheatley directing. It will continue there until May, after which it will move to outdoor locations, most likely in Asia.
The 47-year-old Wu is a former martial artist who has established a successful career as a film and television actor and director. Wu, a protégé of the legendary action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, had early success in Hong Kong-made films such as “SPL” (2005) and “Invisible Target” (2007). He also had a small role in “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” (2008), behind Brendan Fraser and Jet Li. In 2015, Wu wrote and directed the mainland Chinese action film “Wolf Warrior,” which grossed a respectable $80 million in China. But the concept struck gold two years later with the $870 million grossing “Wolf Warrior II,” which was even more patriotic and bloodthirsty. The franchise was so popular that it inspired the name of China’s current uncompromising diplomatic relations.
Since 2017, Wu has starred in or played a significant role in seven films that grossed over $100 million at the box office, including the groundbreaking Chinese science fiction film “The Wandering Earth” and the propaganda anthologies “My People, My Country” and “My Country, My Parents.” Since October, Wu’s two most recent films, “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” which broke the Chinese box office record, and “The Battle at Lake Changjin II,” which is currently in theaters, have grossed more than $1.4 billion. This time, there is no female Chinese lead, but there is Sophia, the teen daughter, as well as a large number of women and an incredibly diverse cast. Cai Shuya (also known as Sophia Cai) played the daughter of Li’s oceanographer character in “The Meg.”
“The Meg” is based on Steve Alten’s 1997 novel “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” in which Statham battles a monstrous prehistoric shark that has emerged from the deepest ocean trench on Earth. Dean Georgaris, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber, who wrote the screen adaptation, have also returned for the sequel. Statham will next be seen in “The Expendables 4” and Guy Ritchie’s “Orson Fortune,” in which he portrays a private contractor hired to prevent a billionaire arms dealer from selling a potentially world-ending weapon. In addition, he will star in “The Bee Keeper,” which was written by “Salt” screenwriter Kurt Wimmer. Wu will reportedly appear in “Wolf Warrior III” and “Wandering Earth II.”