Get ready, horror fans- there’s a storm brewing this week in New York City that’s wielding killer sharks and all kinds of wonderfully over-the-top chaos in Anthony C. Ferrante’s Sharknado 2: The Second One, which makes its debut tonight on SyFy.

During the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, Daily Dead chatted with director Ferrante, the sequel’s star Ian Ziering, and co-stars Vivica A. Fox and Judah Friedlander about their experiences making the film in New York City and their thoughts on the pop culture frenzy surrounding the Sharknado films.

Ian Ziering on the phenomena of Sharknado: The experience itself has been overwhelming. I never expected these movies to become what they’ve become. This is a low-budget science fiction movie and you never know when you initially come on board a project like this what the final product is going to be. And I originally never thought something like Sharknado was ever going to propel my career. In fact, I originally told my wife that I wasn’t going to do it, but with my daughter Mia and another on the way, she said you have to go to work. I have to make my insurance, so I said yes.

And my wife never misses an opportunity to remind me that it’s because of her that I did Sharknado and look at where we’re at now with everything (laughs). And I’ve been so lucky and it’s given my career this whole new purpose, which is really cool. It’s been something very special to be a part of, really, and I’m so glad I did it.

Anthony C. Ferrante on some of Sharknado 2’s homages & special cast members: The opening of the movie is an homage to The Twilight Zone and there are a lot of really fun references in there for genre fans. I think the subway scene is another really fun moment in the movie and I had wanted to make a few scarier moments in Sharknado 2, but that’s hard with this material because it’s an action movie. And it’s also a comedy at the same time so we don’t have  a lot of room for those ‘horror’ moments.

Originally, we wanted to cast Henry Winkler for this taxi cab driver role because that’s right around the moment we make this ‘jump the shark’ reference, but we decided to go another direction. So they asked me who I’d want for this role and I said, “Let’s get Judd Hirsch.” And then we got Judd Hirsch and that man was amazing; he’s like 79, maybe, and we would keep changing things up on him and he was like a viper. He nailed it.

There was a lot of that and there were also the times where you’d get a call the night before and you find out someone wants to be in the movie so you have to write something for them. It became a living organism every day.

Ferrante on beating the impossible with the Sharknado films: You have 18 days to make this movie, so that’s a big thing to have to deal with. And then we shot it in February and we delivered it in June and we have over 700 visual effects to get done. That’s crazy-try that, Superman. There’s no way. And say what you will about these movies- whether you hate them or love them- but we’ve pulled off the impossible with both movies. And I think that’s part of the fun, because it’s not perfect and it’s not planned to a T, so there’s room for things, like surprise cast members, to happen organically.  And last year we thought no one would watch this movie. We thought stoners would be the only ones and that would be our audience (laughs) because it was such a weird film. And then suddenly everyone embraced us worldwide and all of this has happened with it. It’s been incredible to see it all continue to build too.

Vivica A. Fox on being part of Sharknado 2: I was really, really excited to be a part of this. I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t even hesitate when they called me and asked me to be a part of Sharknado 2. The first one felt like the little movie that could with all the success it found through social media and that was something I wanted to be a part of. Plus I got to do some action and I got to kiss Ian (Ziering) too, so it was just a great experience for me (laughs). Except for all the damn running, that was the only bad thing beyond it being beyond freezing while we were shooting.

There were a couple of scenes where we’re on top of the 66th floor of this building and it was so cold and so windy we could barely get our lines out. So it was all very physical and you’d think that your body would warm up but no- not at all. It was the coldest winter in New York ever.  And Ian, our leader, never complained about the conditions ever and I think that really helped the morale on set for everyone. Because if he’s not complaining and he’s doing all these crazy stunts on set every day, how can we complain?

Judah Friedlander on campaigning to be part of Sharknado 2 and his love of shark movies: I’m excited to see it finally- I only worked two days on it, but it was so much fun. I actually campaigned to get myself on the movie because I was a fan of the first one. I had actually contacted SyFy and The Asylum a couple of years before Sharknado had come out. I had live-tweeted another shark movie a few years ago called Malibu Shark Attack and I am a fan of the genre. These are the kinds of movies that my agent would never, ever submit me for even if I yelled at them. Although  I never did yell at them but I probably should have (laughs).

So when Sharknado 2 came around, because I’ve just been doing mostly touring lately, I didn’t have an acting agent so I contacted them directly. And I live-tweeted the first one too the night it came out and that’s how I sort of met the director because he was live-tweeting also. So I think they realized I was serious and that I really wanted to be in this. And I got to battle a few sharks and see the Mets play too and work with a lot of great people too like Ian (Ziering) and Mark (McGrath), so it was a lot of fun.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.