A LAB OFF THE Mexico coast is engineering sharks with humongous brains for a potential Alzheimer’s cure. Problem: Shark brains plus shark instincts equals really scary fish. “Are we Jurassic Shark? Golly, I don’t know. Are we Jaws’ errant godchild? Yeah — if we’re lucky,” says producer Akiva Goldsman. But some reports suggest luck has not been with ”Sea,” which uses sharks both mechanical and computer-generated. With reports of F/X problems circling him, Harlin (”Cliffhanger”) isn’t commenting.
”Sea” does have this much going for it: The enduring appeal of sharks and the hunky appeal of Thomas Jane, who stands the best chance of becoming this summer’s Matthew McConaughey if the film’s a hit. He’s earned the title. After wrapping the shoot at the Baja studios where James Cameron shot ”Titanic,” Harlin insisted on going to the Bahamas to work with real sharks. “The first day, I was in a cage,” says Jane, “but the next day, they swam me 30 feet down…. Then this guy yanks the breather off me and the water’s churning with blood and guts and stuff…. It was so terrifying that I don’t want to remember it.” Fine, as long as no one says that when the movie comes out.