Judah Friedlander: 'Sharknado 2' Is 'Most Important Film Ever Made About Climate Change'
When the first Sharknado film aired last summer on Syfy, it wound up in the eye of Twitterstorm. Folks who don't normally come together on anything, let alone a popcorn action thriller about a shark-laden tornado decimating L.A., sang its ... praises.
Tweeted NBC News' Chuck Todd: "I follow about a thousand folks. Every one of the them is tweeting about 'SharkNado.'"
Mia Farrow (mother of MSNBC's Dylan Farrow): "Omg omg OMG #sharknado"
Andy Levy of Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld: "rooting for the #sharknado"
Libertarian film critic Kurt Loder: "Glad for this extended breather in the midst of all that unbearable tension... #Sharknado"
CNN's Jake Tapper: "Fantastic stuff, twitterverse! But most of all, thank you @IanZiering and @TaraReid!!! #SharkNado #StillALittleWeepyTheyKilledTheHammerhead"
When the sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, airs tomorrow, July 30, on Syfy, this time targeting the Big Apple, Tapper will be ready. He tweeted a picture today of a T-shirt bearing a New York City weather forecast for the week, with a gaping, bloody shark mouth on Wednesday, and adding, "Swagnado. CC: @Syfy"
Also live-tweeting the first film was comedian/actor Judah Friedlander, who lobbied for a cameo role in the sequel. And if we are to believe his comments this past April during a press conference as part of an NBC Universal Press Day at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif., Sharknado 2 may be a film of great scientific importance.
Asked by a reporter whether chatter about climate change lends credibility to the two films' monster storms, Friedlander replied, "I have said it from the beginning ... I actually approached the director to be in this film. And this, to me, is the most important film ever made about climate change. There is no film, TV thing, special anything, more important than this film."
Said co-star Kari Wuhrer, "Yeah. It kicks El Nino's a**, OK?"
"I live in New York City," said Friedlander, "and I wanted to be a part of this film to help save the city. So, thank you, sir."
On the other hand, Friedlander also said a few minutes later that he'd been paid $5 million, while franchise director Anthony C. Ferrante said, "We were trying to emulate a blockbuster movie with the craft-service budget for a day."
Original Sharknado stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return as estranged spouses Fin Shepard and April Wexler, respectively. Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath joins the cast as Fin's former wingman and current brother-in-law, Martin Brody (yes, that's the same name as Roy Scheider's police-chief character in Jaws). Wuhrer plays Martin's wife, Ellen (yes, that's the same name as the police chief's wife in Jaws).
According to Ferrante, Fin's a little jealous of his former running buddy, who still has an intact family life.
If Jaws was a story about a man and his family facing off against a killer shark, Ferrante sees Sharknado as much the same thing (only with way more sharks). That's why he insisted that Ziering return for the sequel as Fin, which gave Ferrante and screenwriter Thunder Levin a chance to revisit the Fin/April relationship.
"I wanted to show them coming together," said Ferrante after the session. "You see why they were married, and them trying to find a way ... can they make this work? So there's a story going on in this movie. As much as we have wall-to-wall action, there's still a story happening."
Ferrante calls Ziering his movie's "John McClane," referring to Bruce Willis' NYPD detective character in Die Hard, another action movie where a man estranged from his family is trying to repair his relationship with his wife.
"He's captain of the ship," said McGrath of Ziering. "He really believes he's John McClane [from 'Die Hard'], and I believed he's John McClane. That's what was so important about this movie.
"'Sharknado' is a movie that, for the rest of our lives, will be in our vernacular. It'll be part of the American lexicon, dash-anything-Nado. I think the sequel did the original justice. We made it big enough; the script is big enough. You thought there were some can't-believe-it moments in the first one, this one tops it.
"There's only one place that you could have topped the first one, and that's New York City."
Joining Friedlander for cameos in Sharknado 2 (many of whom are also people who requested to be included) are Today show stars Matt Lauer and Al Roker, and blogger Perez Hilton (all as themselves), Biz Markie, Kelly Osbourne, Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa, Robert Klein (as the mayor), wrestler Kurt Angle (as the fire chief), Judd Hirsch (the former Taxi star plays a cabbie, of course) and Andy Dick.
As for a possible Sharknado 3, Ferrante said, "Number one, Ian needs to come back. Number two, we need to figure out what the story is, his journey and his family. ... And you need a city that has cultural landmarks where you can do things you haven't done before.
"It's global; you have to go international."