As I stood in the freezing cold waiting for someone to yell "Action," it suddenly dawned on me that, against all odds, Sharknado 2 might actually pull it off. Here's why.
It was around 5:30 in the morning when I woke up and realized I'd slept longer than I'd planned. So I threw on the first clothes I could find and ran out the door as fast as my nerdy, out-of-shape legs could carry me. What had lit the fire under my butt to get me to 30 Rock hours before I'm usually even conscious? Why, my visit to the set of Sharknado 2, naturally!
I won't lie to you, blastr faithful: Coming into this experience, the failure of a Sharknado followup was a foregone conclusion in my mind. Because, let's be honest, the first Sharknado's monster success stands as one of the most unlikely events in recent memory.
But between a fun plot, one of the best titles in B-movie history and a bonkers social-media explosion that included tons of celebrity live tweets and news outlets talking about whether a sharknado could actually happen, the movie became the surprise hit of the summer.
It was the perfect storm. Of sharks.
So, if any of you have doubts over whether studio The Asylum can capture lightning in a bottle again (or sharks in a tornado, as the case may be), I'd say that's pretty understandable. And, up until recently, I would have agreed with you. What changed my mind?
Was it the plot, in which freshly reconciled couple Fin and April are on tour in New York with their book on how to survive a sharknado (really) when, against all odds, yet another happens to hit? Nah. Although that it is pretty funny.
Was it the expanded cast, including Fin's sister, played by Syfy veteran Kari Wuhrer, his ex-best friend (and brother-in-law), played by Mark McGrath, or even Fin's former flame, played by Vivica A. Fox? We're getting warmer.
Was it that I, your humble contributing editor, will appear on screen in a role that can only be described as "an extra"? Actually that's more related than you'd think.
The reason I believe Sharknado 2 can be a hit is that every person I met not only wanted to be there but was willing to go to ridiculous lengths to make this sequel as fun as possible. Ask anyone, "Why are you doing Sharknado 2?" and they'll all give you the same answer -- "How could you not?"
For example, Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath had been knocking down The Asylum's door to be in the Sharknado sequel, and, now that he's in it, he's found his way into not only acting, but maybe singing, too. When he was asked if he'd contribute a song, MacGrath revealed, "I was talking with the director, and originally I wan't approached to do that, but as things evolved here, he was thinking 'What about writing a song,' and I would love to. And he was very much saying, 'We want a Beach Boys/Ramones type of vibe, and those were two of my favorite bands of all time, so I'm like, I'm your man." So he went from actor to potentially doubling as composer/singer, too. Because it's Sharknado 2. How could he not?
Vivica A. Fox, meanwhile, is just incredibly charming and warm, despite the fact that she had suffered a Sharknado-related injury -- to her hair. "I actually got scalped," she confessed. "When I fell, Ian landed on it [her hair]. It came out, but I got a whole lot more, so it was OK. It'll grow back." Still, Fox was up for anything. When I asked her if, hypothetically, Sharknado 2 had been a Broadway musical instead of a movie, what song would her character sing, rather than just giving me a title, she burst out with a full-on, original composition on the spot. Why give so much just for a silly interview question? Because it's Sharknado 2. Because how could she not?
And there's a great sense of humor at work, too. Fin Shepard himself, Ian Ziering, didn't skip a beat when I asked him the name of the Syfy original movie he'd make if we'd let him -- "Frogpocalypse Now" (I'd live-tweet it). But he's also wisely self-aware. I asked him how he could top chainsawing out of a shark, and he admitted that you can't, saying, "That can never be topped. It can never be duplicated. You have to do something different that can be a jaw-dropping moment. It can be a similar experience, but it's got to come from a different perspective." So it's about making it new all over again. Because it's Sharknado 2. Because how could you not?
Finally, there's production team The Asylum, who is the reason that people say "How could you not?" They brilliantly realized that, if you're going to make a Sharknado sequel, you've got to do it in New York, because it's the one city every person I interviewed acknowledged could take on a sharknado if it actually happened.
The Asylum isn't afraid to ask people for everything they have, because they know they're doing it in the name of something that is, above all else, undeniably fun. That's why people are singing and acting, it's why the number of local New York celebrity cameos is growing by the day. It's the reason so many people, famous or not, will watch it while excitedly tweeting with its stars at the same time.
And it's the reason I was out in the freezing cold with no coat on, snow all around me despite the movie being set in the spring. "Sharknados cause unpredictable weather patterns," they told me. And I believed it. And when they yelled "Action," I ran and screamed like a lunatic. Because it's Sharknado 2. Because how could I not?