Sharknado 2 Exclusive: Ian Ziering and Tara Reid Talk About Chainsawing Sharks

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Tara Reid & Ian Ziering at Sharknado 2 TCA party
Tara Reid & Ian Ziering at Sharknado 2 TCA party

I thought Sharknado was wonderful. It’s this generation’s Volcano, only it’s actually been appreciated in its time. When Volcano came out, people didn’t appreciate the wonderful absurdity of erupting a volcano in the middle of Los Angeles. With Sharknado, audiences committed to the awesomeness of tornados hurling sharks at people and Ian Ziering’s final move (spoiler alert).

That makes Sharknado 2: The Second One my most anticipated movie of the year, so perhaps I was a little gung ho. I pursued Ziering and Tara Reid harder than I pursue the stars of any summer blockbuster or Oscar movie. Luckily there was a Sharknado 2 party for the Television Critics Association, and Syfy set me up with the stars in the Beverly Hilton bar before they appeared poolside for a Sharknado 2 screening.

Sharknado 2 picks up with Fin (Ziering) and April (Reid) flying to New York for a book signing, when Sharknados happen over New York, because of course. April sustains an injury and is taken to the hospital, but Fin goes into the city to find his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, battling Sharknados all over Manhattan.

Sharks in a subway
Sharks in a subway

Tara, I just discovered Josie and the Pussycats for the first time.

Reid: It’s like the best movie ever. That’s what Melody says.

Was that the most sublimely happy character you’ve ever played?

Reid: I loved playing Melody. She was really fun. I love that. To me it was one of my favorite movies I ever did. I think it was ahead of its time. It was before social media. Now it would kind of make more sense, but back then no one thought of it.

I understand it’s traumatizing for Fin to be swallowed by a shark, but for Ian wasn’t it awesome?

Ziering: It was awesome. Are you kidding? To be able to chainsaw my way out of the belly of a shark is something that has been captured on celluloid that will be remembered forever, at least in my mind.

Except we don’t shoot on celluloid anymore.

Ziering: I know, digital. It’s an antiquated term.

A lot of actors might say the reason to do a movie like Sharknado is because it’s so bad it’s good. Isn’t the reason to do a movie like Sharknado because it’s awesome?

Ziering: I did it to make my insurance. I didn’t lie to anyone about that. If it wasn’t for my life, I may not have done this, but as I was vacillating on whether I should do this or not, she said, “Look, you need to go to work. You’ve got to make your insurance.” So I realized I’m a husband and I’m a father and I have to provide. I get my insurance through my unions, so that really was the impetus for me. It wasn’t a selfish decision to do it. It was a selfless decision.

But you know what I mean, some actors might play it with an ironic distance rather than embracing it.

Reid: I mean, at the end of the day, we were doing a film that we had no idea where the sharks were. We were reacting to sharks, we didn’t know what size, how they were coming at us. So you didn’t know how big to react. It was a risk and we went for it wholeheartedly.
Ziering: We just had to have a lot of trust in the director that we really didn’t know. We didn’t know if it was going to be substantiated well enough to make the action believable. When you see the movie, it’s a reaction but at the point of production, we’re swatting in the air and it’s kind of ridiculous. That’s where you really have to have faith in the director.

Did you have a better sense of that on the sequel?

Ziering: Well, yeah. Where there was trepidation at first because we didn’t know if we were going to be battling the CG quality of Avatar or the CG quality of Sid and Marty Krofft? Am I going to be battling Sigmund and the Sea Monster and a puppet? Thankfully they delivered a fantastic product and were able to catch lightning in a bottle.


Ian Ziering and Tara Reid
Ian Ziering and Tara Reid

When you read the first scene where April earns a battle scar, how did you feel?

Reid: I was happy that April finally, in the first one she’s scared. She’s the last person that would ever touch a shark. So I was happy that she became more active and dressed differently. She was now following Fin. She’s killing sharks with Fin and now they’re more of a team. Before, they weren’t a team.

Was kick ass action heroine ever your dream to play as an actor?

Reid: Of course, whose isn’t? A kind of superhero role is so much fun.

Given April's injury, are you actually left or right handed in real life?

Reid: Right.

Fin never hesitates, does he?

Ziering: I think he’s motivated by his family. They’re the reason he puts himself into danger. The same with his family and his friends. So he’s kind of a superhero. He’s got a superhero gene that he never knew existed until his family was threatened. Then like most men, that’s when the superhero gene shows itself.

What’s your shark kill count at this point?

Ziering: I don’t know. I don’t know how many I’ve taken down in this movie. Take into account numbers that fell to my bombs, guns and chainsaw, and axe and baseball bat and wood spear. What else? Firebombs. It’s a pretty high shark count.
Reid: Millions at this point. He’s saving cities. He’s saving mankind.

I won’t give away the finale, but did you feel it topped the chainsawing through the shark at the end of the first one?

Ziering: Never try to top anything. You have to appreciate that moment from S1 for what it was. We tried to do something equally impactful, equally jaw dropping, equally OMG. Hopefully they’ve done that.

How did you feel about the “Frogger” scene of hopping on sharks’ backs?

Ziering: That was a huge green screen day. Knowing what they were capable of, I had fun with it. I haven’t seen the movie, but we did several takes and I said, “Now, let me have fun with it.” There was one take where I was actually jumping and doing spins in the air. I did another take where I was doing cartwheels, handsprings. I don’t know what made it.

They actually kept it a little bit grounded. He just jumps over them.

Reid: You’ve seen the movie before we have. How funny is that? We’ll see it tonight.

Tara, did you get to drive the fire truck for real?

Reid: No, I was in the passenger seat for the firetruck. After he made the amazing speech, they literally wrapped me, I go back to the hotel which happened to be right next to where it would be. I took off the cast and they’re like, “Tara, we forgot a shot.” But they were going to be done with him so it was B team. I’m like, “Okay, what do I have to be doing?” They’re like, “We need to get it in 10 minutes.” “You guys, I don’t have the wardrobe on. It’s in the truck. I don’t have the cast on.” They run up, throw it on, it wasn’t even the real thing. They put my real hand inside. It was hilarious. Before you knew it, I was asking for help.

Ian, was Domino an entree into the action genre?

Ziering: Wow, that was 10 years ago. That was big budget filmmaking. That was Tony Scott, arguably giving one of his most underrated amazing movies ever. Yeah, that was the first real action/adventure stuff that I got to do, but completely different.

It wasn’t an attempt to position yourself for these kinds of movies?

Ziering: No, it was just an attempt to do something different. As an actor you always have to reinvent yourself.


Sharknado 2: The Second One
Sharknado 2: The Second One

Was it fun to give a Braveheart speech to the city of New York?

Ziering: Absolutely.
Reid: When he did it, in real life, not even extras, there were people walking by the set and when he was screaming, really in real life, people of New York City were like, “Yeah! Go!” They weren’t even part of the scene. They just heard him on top of the firetruck and everyone involved in that area was on his side, voting for him, coming together.
Ziering: When I said, “Let’s go kill some sharks,” it seemed like an entire city block responded.

Was that bigger chainsaw more difficult to wield?

Ziering: Yeah, it presented its own problems. It was a four foot chainsaw. It was like a 45 lb. chainsaw.
Reid: And he got hurt on it too but didn’t start. He got hurt by it, and he had to do it over and over. He was bleeding at one point and it was freezing outside, and he kept being a trooper. No one else in the world, any actor, wouldn’t have kept going.
Ziering: It was just a flesh wound.

April’s story does keep her away from some of the action for a while. Was that a function of you being less available for the sequel?

Reid: No, it’s just the way the storyline was written. That’s why the movie is in the steps it was. It would’ve made no sense helping the little girl when they’re at the Mets’ stadium. Remember, I get injured at the beginning so those were the steps I had to go through.

You recover fast, but you still had to recover a little.

Reid: Yeah, it’s Sharknado.

In what city should the third Sharknado take place?

Ziering: That’s what I just put out on Twitter. I wanted to know from my Twitter fans where they felt the next Sharknado, Sharknado 3 should be filmed. In which country? Personally I think they should go to a foreign land. This is a movie from the United States but it’s propelled by a global audience. I think giving a little back to the audience would be great. We were so warmly received in New York City that I think any international city would be happy to host the production. It’s now kind of cool to say, “There was a Sharknado here.”

I was thinking too small, maybe Vegas. I should’ve thought Paris, London.

Reid: Exactly, Australia. Go for it. It could be anywhere. Every country endorsed it, loved it. So it’s become not just a domestic thing but international. That’s amazing.
Ziering: Anywhere in Asia, Spain, France.

Fin is the expert in Sharknados, but how would he handle a Hippocano or a Lionphoon?

Ziering: I never heard of a Lionphoon.

That was all I could come up with.

Ziering: Well, I think Fin has learned the best way to defend yourself against any predator would be a chainsaw. Because he’s so damn good with it, I don’t think he would change up his weapons.

It took me until the second movie to realize he was named after a shark fin.

Reid: Are you serious?

Ziering: Finley Shepard.

Sharknado 2: The Second One premieres July 30th only on SyFy.