Q&A with Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante and star Tara Reid

Sharknado has gone from television-movie phenomenon to the big screen, with a midnight premier in select theatres across the country on Aug. 2. Locally, the Syfy mega-hit will be shown at Regal Fenway 13 cinema in Boston and the Revere Showcase Cinema.

On the eve of the eve of the theatre-debut, the film’s director Anthony C. Ferrante and star Tara Reid sat down with reporters, including the Journal on a teleconference to discuss all things Sharknado.

Press: What is your reaction to the Sharknado phenomenon?
Tara Reid: I think it’s incredible. It really has become a phenomenon. None of us knew it was going to happen and it just shows the power of social media. What’s great too is that so many people watched it together with their husbands or family. I read so many tweets like that. It brought people together.
Anthony C. Ferrante: I think with a movie like this, the audience found it and discovered it. One of the nice things about these things, once and awhile you get lucky. You couldn’t not care about what you’re doing when you’re doing a movie about sharks and a tornado.

Press: Did you plan to make this a cult classic-type movie?
TR: I don’t think you can plan something like this. I’ve been in so many movies in my life. I didn’t know American Pie was going to be a hit. I didn’t know The Big Lebowski or Van Wilder was going to be great. You just try to do the best you can and see how people like it.
AF: You can’t replicate or force feed this. I remember sitting in the editing room with our editor watching the movie for the first time. I said “this is a weird movie, I don’t know if anybody is going to get it.” It was never planned like “we’re going to make the greatest movie ever.” We just had fun. I try to make movies like it’s the last movie I’m ever going to make.

Press: What caught your attention when reading the script of this movie to get involved?
TR: When I read the script, I just laughed so much since it’s so absurd. I remember telling my friends about it and everyone cracked up telling me I had to do this movie, it’s a classic. I knew I had to do it and it did turn out to be a classic which is phenomenal.
AF: When I got on board, I wanted to do even more crazy things than the script had. I wanted to shoot at the Santa Monica pier, the Hollywood sign, etc. The hard part initially for me was to throw out the logic stuff. Eventually, I thought if the characters played it straight and everything else was funny it’d work. I don’t think management companies wanted to let their talent read for the movie. It scared a lot of people. The cast was brave enough and trusting enough to think that we were going to do something great.

Press: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
TR: Some of the scenes when we’re in the car where there were no sharks. We were responding to literally nothing saying like “ahhh sharks!” It was really fun to see everything come together in the end.
AF: I was yelling “shark!” so much I started losing my voice. I was trying to motivate everybody when I could barely speak.

Press: Anthony, what were some of the harder creative choices to make?
AF: There really isn’t a lot left on the editing room floor. There’s nothing left over I wanted that isn’t in the movie. The challenges were that it’s so ambitious. [We were] trying to shoot a movie about a storm in Los Angeles when there’s no rain. There were only four official rainy days when we were shooting. We needed to drive our cars in the rain for a scene but could never get it. Weather just didn’t behave. A lot of times you’d shoot a scene and say “can’t shoot that angle” because the angles had to be littler.

Press: What are your thoughts on the sequel, any news yet? What are your fears about it?
TR: I don’t know anything about the sequel. Until they write the script and let us know what’s going to happen I can’t really do anything. [I’m interested] if the script is good and everyone’s back. I don’t think there can be a Sharknado 2 without everyone back involved in it.  Hollywood loves sequels because they think it’s a guarantee but there’s no guarantee. Some work, some don’t work. You have to keep that fun, campy humor and it has to keep that energy.

AF: Nobody has been hired across the board just yet; it’s all just talks right now. The sequel has to be some sort of family dynamic because that’s what we like about these characters. It’s guys trying to figure out how to survive something just like we would. There are no scientists trying to solve the sharknado, it’s the right type of a group of underdogs. The hardest thing with the sequel is: “how do you top yourself?” You have to live up to the sensation and deliver. You have to work harder because there’s something to live up to now.

The kinda-sorta horror film will be in select theaters nationwide midnight on Aug. 2 with the sequel set to premier on Syfy sometime in 2014.