BWW Interviews: SHARKNADO 2 Stars Talk About Favorite Kills, Filming in New York, Social Media
Forget superheroes, forget superstars, last summer's biggest hit was Syfy's "Sharknado," and this summer they are doubling down on the cult hit with "Sharknado 2: The Second One." This time, New York City is besieged by the illogical natural disaster. "Sharknado 2" airs tonight at 9:00 pm on Syfy.
Recently BroadwayWorld TV took part in a conference call with stars, Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. FOX and director Anthony C. Ferrante. Check out the trailer below, then see what the they have to say about their favorite shark kills, filming in New York, and the Sharknado response on social media.
When you went in to do the first Sharknado movie did you have any idea it was going to become this massive pop culture event? And why do you think it has resonated with so many people?
T.R.: I mean we definitely didn't know it was going to become what happened. It was definitely shocking for all of us. We had no clue signing on to the movie that this would be this phenomenon. So you know, it was - a great and kind of shocking experience.
And it turned into something wonderful. Now to be a part of the franchise has been incredible. But yes, we definitely, we didn't know - we got real lucky.
What can we expect from the second movie?
V.F.: A lot of cameos, a lot of cameos. I mean I was really pleasantly surprised how many people wanted to be a part of this film when they saw it. It's like, famous faces just keep popping up. And it's just an awesome surprise.
A.C.F.: I think the key with the second movie is we want them to - we wanted to kind of amp up what we did - we already did a lot in the first movie for the budget and the schedule. I mean that's the - I think one of the reasons why it stood out just because we were pushing the budget and the schedule the maximum.
And so we pretty much had the same kind of schedule in this one and we were trying to do twice as much as pushing as we did on the first one. So it - it's a lot of heavy lifting to kind of make these things look fantastic and don't have a - you know, we don't have a $200 million budget to pull it off.
One of the best things that Syfy said - there were actually two great things they said when we were developing. One, they started saying, well, we're set it in summer but any weird weather when you're shooting in February make it part of the story, which liberated us. So we didn't have to go, we have to hide the snow. And that really adds to the look and feel of the movie.
The second thing is - is that, they said we want you to shoot this movie in New York, shoot it in New York. We don't want you to go to Canada. We don't want you shoot in the back lots in LA. We want to shoot in New York. And I think that - that makes this movie look gargantuan and it feels authentic. And I think that's what makes this one really special because we're right there in the thick of New York.
So let me ask you, a couple minutes ago you mentioned the celebrity cameos that are in this film. Can you name a few of them?
V.F.: Sure, we had Matt Lauer, gosh, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, and lots more that you have to stay tuned to see.
A.C.F.: Judah Friedlander was one of the people that did the - was one of the big Twitter followers that night who's from 30 Rock and he was writing some really funny stuff.
We kind of became friends with him and he really wanted to be in the second movie and he's one of - he actually was only hired for one line in Sharknado 2 and I called Judah up and going, I don't want to waste you with one line. If we can give you a bigger part would you do it? He's like, of course.
So we actually - we combined three characters at the ballpark into one character so we could keep him around a little longer in the movie. But a lot of the film was we would get calls, like, the night before going, this actor's available, let's put him in the movie. And like, okay. And then suddenly you're writing something for that actor.
And so it - I keep calling these movies living organisms because, you know, you have a script but you go on the set and it's, like, you know, things are changing or you don't have this truck or you don't have that and you have to kind of make it work.
You don't have - you can't pawn off not getting what you did that day on Day 70 because you don't have a Day 70. So it's always - here we are, this is what we got, let's make some magic.
And that includes we have a new actor that showed up and we don't have a part, let's write a part for them because I always wanted the cameos to be integrated into the film, not just be somebody random that gets killed. Not that we don't do that, but I wanted as much as possible to give all these people characters.
This is for all of you guys, let me ask you, in the first film you put a shark pretty much everywhere you could think of. So for this film, where else can you put a shark?
T.R.: I mean they could go anywhere. Sharknado is, you know, wherever it comes. So they could go anywhere from inside hospitals to the Met Stadiums to subways to the street to you name it, a shark could be there. The Empire State Building.
A.C.F.: I think the misnomer about Sharknado is people get hung up on the fact that sharks can't exist in a tornado and tornados can't do what they do and all that stuff. And the simple explanation on our end is that it's a Sharknado; it's like our Frankenstein, our Freddy Krueger, our Jason.
You know, you don't question Jason getting his, you know, neck Chopped off half a million times and then getting shot and getting back up again and all that stuff, that's part of the mythology. And so I think the thing that we've expected is that the Sharknado is our villain and it does what we tell it to do.
So you know, if it shoots through a car window, yes, a shark can't do that but a Sharknado can. So it gives - that opens up the imagination of what you can do and we were able to do a lot of crazy stuff because we were freed by the fact that we could do anything.
Vivica, what was it about the film that made you want to be a part of it?
V.F.: Well, you know, I was saying, wow, I need a little bit of Syfy in my life and action. And wham, there came Sharknado 2. I was really presently surprised when I got the offer to play Skye. I hadn't worked with Ian since back in the day with 90210 and Tara, we had known each other for many, many years.
So the opportunity to work with both of them and hearing the major success of the first Sharknado it just seemed like a win-win situation for me.
A.C.F.: We also changed the character a lot when you came on board and I was so thrilled when you came on board because we were allowed to do an idea that we had early on of making the Skye character Fin's high school sweetheart.
Because we were trying to show this reuniting of Fin and April, but we wanted an obstacle and, man, you guys sold that as such a - it was really - it was a blessing to have you on that film because it just gave us so much more depth.
And those little moments and the things that you guys did - you know, in the middle of the Sharknado - doing things that you don't expect someone to do in Sharknado 2.
I just love that, I love that dynamic because at the heart at it if you don't care about these characters everything starts falling apart. So we had a really nice mix with everybody.
Ian and for Tara, when you have a movie that is successful, special like Sharknado was, sometimes actors will be reluctant to do a sequel. Did you guys have any second thoughts or were you on board from the get go?
I.Z.: I was on board right from the get go. You know, what's so nice about Sharknado is that it really is not competing with itself and the bar that it set initially is not...one... that's unattainable. This was a low budget independent film, you know, a very campy nature.
So really the only way to screw it up would be to change it. And the brilliance of Sharknado 2 is the fact that it's more of the same. It's a similar formula but it's a different experience, similar situation in a new environment. And if people liked one they're going to love two.
T.R.: I agree with Ian exactly. I mean I - he couldn't have said it better. You know, when I read the first one and went out to dinner that night with my friends, I told them I thought the script was hilarious. I was - yes, sharks are flying in Beverly Hills and maiming people and jumping out of pools.
And my friends are laughing so hard. They're like, are you kidding me? This is amazing, you'll have to do this. So it's so funny, you have to do it. So the next day I called my agent and I'm like, all right, let's do it.
And never knowing it would become the phenomenon it did but, you know, it worked. You know, people really enjoyed it. And then we learned from the first one and I think made it even better.
Did you guys see the city actually kind of became a character itself during filming? Ian and Tara, you are both from the New York area.
T.R.: I mean it was great. It was like a really fun feeling to shoot at home basically. Like, for me, all my friends still live there. I have so many memories on each one of the streets because I still walked going to school.
So for me shooting that was just - it was such an awesome feeling. It was great. The power of shooting in New York City is like - it's such a strong city and it does have such a personality of its own.
And I really think that it adds such an element to this film and I think when you watch the movie you'll really see the power of New York City and what the city's about and how the people really come together when something goes wrong in the city to come together to save it. And I think that shows across the film.
Did all the fan and media attention change the way you approached or viewed your jobs going into the sequel? And also, what was the vibe on the set like the second time around?
T.R.: I don't think the media - it was exciting that the first one was such a hit but I don't think that changed how we performed or affected us any way like that. We were hoping to make another good fun film that people would enjoy.
But yes, the vibe on the set was great. I mean we got lucky, everyone truly got along in the movie and had a great time with each other. And I think that shows.
V.F.: The only element that was kind of crazy was just that it was really, really cold and there were sometimes you would be doing the scene and - boy, I just could not - getting out the dialog could be a little tough. But we would just go warm up and then go back at it again.
And did you all feel a responsibility to a fan base that didn't exist the first time around?
V.F.: Absolutely, yes. I mean when I heard about the success of the movie - 5,000 tweets a minute - I mean the first time, I was like, wow, okay, people are really, really loving this. And they're going to be looking forward to the second one. So we wanted to deliver and make it bigger and better.
A.C.F.: And I think the hard part was - go ahead, Ian.
I.Z.: Yes, you know, in making Sharknado 2 there was a certain - there was a greater amount of ease about it because where I didn't have the experience of what was possible, you know, after seeing what they were able to accomplish - what the visual effects artists were able to accomplish, what Anthony was able to do with the script, you know, going into Sharknado 2 I had a higher level of trust.
So it was a bit more framing and enabled me to not have to worry about - gosh, am I going to look ridiculous doing this?
You know, I would do it no matter what but I had a greater amount of trust knowing that, you know, Anthony is completely capable, knowing that the visual effects artists are going to make all my actions substantiated by whatever shark it is that I'm being threatened by to make what initially was an action into a very realistic reaction. So I had a lot more fun because I wasn't ill at ease.
It seems (the movie was) pretty physical though. Did you have to do any training ahead of time just to prepare that you weren't getting hurt? Or was it strictly just - like stunt double or anything like that?
I.Z.: I wish there was...
A.C.F.: Ian doesn't have a stunt double.
I.Z.: It's only because there was no money in the budget for a stunt double. You know, it really wasn't too crazy. I mean jumping down a few stairs or - you know, the toughest thing was dealing with that chainsaw. It must have been a 45 pound chain saw.
And you know, rather than swinging it through the air, you know, I would steady it and let the sharks fly through it this time because the thing is just - it's a monster. But then also, you know, having to pull the chain start on it, you know, that's not easy to do either, to turn that sucker over took a lot. You know, I had to keep that going.
So it was - you know, dealing with the chainsaw was a bit of a challenge but, you know, we did it a couple of times and we took the best shot and moved on.
Did you have a lot of people in the different New York communities come out and see you, watch you film?
A.C.F.: Yes, that was the different - that was the thing that we were talking about the difference. We had paparazzi everywhere. No one cared we were making the first movie. This one, you had to shoot around the paparazzi and the fans.
Do you think that there would have been a sequel to Sharknado if there wasn't social media involved?
T.R.: No, probably not. I mean social media is really what took it to the next level of social media with Twitter and getting 5,000 tweets per minute and then just kind of exploded. So because of social media it really advanced it and took it to a worldwide level that we just weren't expecting. So it had a huge impact on the film.
A.C.F.: I think Asylum might have done something. They might have done a sequel but it wouldn't have been on this scale if it didn't blow up. They have the (Megashark) franchise and they'll - if they have a little bit of a following on these things they'll do sequels but I don't think it would have been on this grand scale.
I think they would have - it would have been, you know, Sharknado, you know, Goes to the Beach or something, you know, and that would have been the second movie. But this gave us a different platform because it was a big deal. So we could do more and we could push it.
I have a silly question for all of you. What's your favorite shark kill out of both of the movies?
T.R.: Wow, I mean - mine's is Ian's.
I.Z.: Yes, I like the shark kills most where I anchor myself to the ground and allow the sharks to literally pass through the blade. You know, that's something that I did in the first movie where it was completely unrehearsed and Anthony has us running through a parking lot.
He says, okay, I need you to jump around and there's going to be sharks flying out of the sky so leap and jump and dodge sharks flying.
And I didn't know what to expect but knowing that they would probably paint in the appropriate reaction there's one moment where I just got on one knee and I raised the chainsaw into the air and they, you know, hit it out of the park. They had a shark fly through that.
In the second one, working with a chainsaw that is 45 pounds, you know, swinging a chainsaw through the air is a little bit more challenging. So when I stood on top of the fire truck knowing that there was a shark flying at me I thought this would be another great opportunity.
But this time I did it backwards. And Anthony says, what the hell are you doing? It looks so phallic. But when we painted the shark in it's such a beautiful kill. It really is.
A.C.F.: It is a fantastic moment. Yes, we called if the phallic shot. Wow, it was great. They did - that was one of the - that's probably one of my favorite kills in this movie that - the animator, (Dennis) who did it, just - he originally did one pass on that where it was just kind of similar to the first movie and he got obsessed with the anatomy of a shark.
And he found a half shark, like a plastic one that showed the full anatomy. And he used that as his inspiration so you get that really clean thing. And he just made a beautiful moment out of that.
I.Z.: You know what I just teed it up, he's the one who hit it out of the park.
T.R.: I mean I just think so many - I think really, the best kill of sharks is Ian's. I mean he has the strength and he just - he really gets them good. I mean he's awesome at it. And with the chainsaw, I mean it doesn't get really any better.
A.C.F.: You get cheers for that moment that - when you get your moment this time. There was cheers for that. So you...
T.R.: That's true. I have a good kill in this time too.
I.Z.: The girls really step up. I mean Tara gets her own saw blade to wield and she takes out a shark really very valiantly. And then on top of the Bells Tower Vivica's character pulls out a sword and slices one in half and it's - you know, the women become very heroic. Give them the right tools and they - they're bad asses.
A.C.F.: Yes, no head trimmers for Tara this time.
"Sharknado 2: The Second One" premieres tonight at 9:00 pm on Syfy. This is a TV event you won't want to miss watching, and tweeting, live.