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Sharknado Cast and Creators Reflect on 10 Years of "Guerrilla Filmmaking" at SDCC
The Sharknado movies have been a phenomenon since the first premiere on SYFY in 2013. Now, the creators and cast are looking back at SDCC 2023.
For some, cinema is watching Christopher Nolan's three-hour biopic Oppenheimer. For others, it's watching Ian Ziering punch a shark in the face.
Thus is the cinematic prowess of Sharknado, which had its 10-year anniversary on July 11 and is being celebrated all month long on SYFY. Ziering, writer/director Anthony C. Ferrante, producers David Rimawi and David Latt, and writer Thunder Levin joined an enthusiastic crowd of fans at San Diego Comic-Con 2023 to reflect back on those 10 years — and things got suitably weird.
To start things off, Ferrante — known for his happy-go-lucky personality — got the crowd warmed up with an original power ballade about the beauty of the Sharknado franchise with the help of local San Diego band Manual Scan, complete with a person in a shark costume waving around a foam chainsaw.
"I always say these movies are made with a sense of desperation," Ferrante told the crowd once everyone had settled. "We had chewing gum and duct tape and they took all our chewing gum away."
Which is a sentiment perhaps best echoed by Ziering, who recalled what it was like coming aboard the first film. In short: He was convinced it would be the end of his career, but he needed the work and his then-wife encouraged him to take the gig. Ziering was half convinced he'd be starring alongside finger puppets.
Fast forward 10 years later, and there are six Sharknado movies, spin-off comics, games, and much more. The first Sharknado was something of a first: a social media phenomenon that took the world by storm.
Shocking, for a made-for-TV movie.
Producer Latt detailed the process of live tweeting the movie for the premiere — a relatively unheard of tactic in 2013. That evening, he feared Twitter was broken because there was so much happening on his feed. It turned out that fans were so overwhelmingly engaged that Twitter was seeing "at least 5,000 tweets per second" about Sharknado, per Latt.
Over the past 10 years, the world has embraced the ridiculousness that is Sharknado despite what Ziering referred to as its "Guerrilla filmmaking" aspect from the start.
"I'm a journeyman actor," Ziering said when asked by a fan what the series has meant to him. "This was just a moment in time that happened to be global ... Six movies later, I'm very proud to be part of a project that entertains so many people. Kids have pictures of Fin Shepard [on their lunchboxes] — it's cool!"
"It was kismet," Levin concluded. "It was all about 'Let's have fun.'"
Who could argue with that?