Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Small Screen: Actor can’t explain Sharknado success

MEXICO CITY — The memes and mockery abound, but Sharknado, which has conquered audiences and netted dozens of celebrity cameos — such as George R.R. Martin, Ne-Yo and Kelly Osbourne — has turned into an annual event.
xx-0806-Ziering.jpg
Ian Ziering stars in the fifth instalment of Sharknado.

MEXICO CITY — The memes and mockery abound, but Sharknado, which has conquered audiences and netted dozens of celebrity cameos — such as George R.R. Martin, Ne-Yo and Kelly Osbourne — has turned into an annual event. The fifth instalment of the TV movie series about airborne sharks arrives tonight with new celebrities and international settings.

“As a viewer I appreciate it because it’s fun, it’s escapism, it’s pure entertainment. But how do you explain it? I don’t know,” said series star Ian Ziering, who, along with Tara Reid, fights a tornado of sharks with a chainsaw. “Major motion-picture studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to capture some of whatever it is that makes our little Sharknado movie globally popular.”

“It’s kind of like the secret sauce: No one really knows for sure. I wish I knew — I would be making my own movie,” he said with a laugh.

Sharknado: Global Swarming premières tonight on Space. Ziering’s Fin Shepard is an expert in “sharknados” who is called upon by governments around the world to fight the crazy phenomenon.

Filming took the cast and crew to Europe, Asia and Australia. This year’s cameos include Olivia Newton-John, Bret Michaels, Clay Aiken, Charo and Mexican weather girl Yanet Garcia.

“Now that we’ve become a global movie, it’s not just people who want to be in the movie, there’s countries who have solicited,” Ziering said.

Reid added: “I think the craziest place that we shot … [where] they were looking at us like we were out of our mind, would be Tokyo, when we were running in the streets at night, like screaming. They don’t understand the language, and they’re looking at us and this crazy hair, and he’s got this [chainsaw] in his hand. People were like: ‘What the hell is going on?’ ”

The plot has been nonsensical from the beginning and has created many memes on the web. Even Ziering found it ridiculous at the beginning.

“When I read the first Sharknado movie, I thought it was terrible. I told my wife that I couldn’t do this movie, that it would be the end of my career,” said the actor, who starred in the popular ’90s TV series Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place.

“I am an actor, but my most important job is provider [for] my family. I didn’t have very much confidence in the movie, but I did it anyway to provide for my family.”

The love of the fans has led to a yearly installment since 2013, all of them directed by Anthony C. Ferrante.

For Ziering, the biggest challenge has been not laughing.

“We’re saying things that are so ridiculous that sometimes you really want to laugh really hard,” he said.

“But you have to take all of this really seriously, because in the context of this movie, these are very serious scenarios.”

At this point, the only way he would stop being part of Sharknado would be “if Fin Shepard ever got eaten and is not able to chainsaw his way out of the shark.”