Definition of the word Cult Film: A cult film, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following with a specific group of fans…
The above excerpt was used to reference what this article is mainly about. The phenomenon known as Sharknado has taken the country by storm. Never has a television movie resonated with so many people with the capacity that it has done. When Sharknado first aired on the SyFy Network a few weeks ago, it was the most trending topic on every social media platform that night and several days after. The buzz that the movie received was unprecedented, whether you loved the film or hated it, one thing’s clear. You were talking about it. Even CNN, The National Weather Service and The Red Cross weighted in on the film. Not even big budgeted films like The Lone Ranger received this much attention. But that’s a different story.
Enter San Diego Comic-Con. Movies that generally enter these halls of the biggest pop culture convention tend to be up and coming big budgeted films that studios execs bring to market, promote and generate a buzz, to stir up the pot and get enough people to talk about and want to see the film prior to their release date. But never have we ever seen a movie whose debut was just weeks prior generate such a buzz after the fact, let alone it being a TV movie. But that was the case as The Asylum film Sharknado hit Comic-Con with full force.
I sat down with Sharknado director Anthony Ferrante (Headless Horseman, Boo) who took the time out of his busy schedule to discuss the instant popularity of his recent film. Just prior he and the cast of the Selachimorpha rotating column of air signed 500 posters for eager fans who patiently waited in line at the Geek Exchange booth. As hectic as Mr. Ferrante has been, you would never know as the calm and collective director chatted with fans, posed for pictures and enjoyed the time spent at Comic-Con.
Nerdlocker (NL): How do you feel about the attention Sharknado has received since its debut on SyFy?
Anthony Ferrante (AF): It’s just mindboggling that people embraced our movie. Like I always said, I made it for fans, I made it for people like me. When I was 10 watching a movie like this, I wanted to make something silly and fun. I got the opportunity to do it and then suddenly it wasn’t just the fans that were liking it, and that was the weird part I still wasn’t getting, how mainstream America embraced a movie about a bunch of sharks destroying Los Angeles. It’s a movie that was very bloody, it’s it a movie that’s very strange, it’s got things that you normally don’t see in these types of movies, and we delivered. I’m grateful. It’s just one of those things where the audience owned it! With Lone Ranger where they spent all this money, watch this movie! Watch this movie! It’s going to be huge, it’s going to be a spectacle. And with us, here’s this (teaser) trailer, here’s some Facebook posts. Be a part of our Sharknado army. Here’s the full trailer and then Boom! I like this weird trailer, let’s see if it lives up to it, and I think it was “Dare me to hate you?” The audience went into it like they were going to hate it, make fun of it, ridicule it, and some people did. But we delivered on some sort of obscure level and when we got to that last scene that everyone’s been re-playing, I think they realized they’re with us!
NL: What brought up the concept of the movie itself?
AF: It’s been around for a little bit. I had made a reference to Sharknado in a script I wrote called Leprechauns Revenge that aired last year on SyFy, and then the movie happened. It’s just a fun concept with sharks in a tornado. They are so many people who take themselves seriously in this business. I made a lot of horror films, but I always wanted to do a comedy and this is kind of a comedy action horror film and if you embrace it and have fun with it, people will come along for the ride. If you’re very self aware and their trying to be like “we’re trying to make this serious action brooding superhero movie!” sometimes you’re like ”meh, not so much”. The balance is, I’ve had humor in my other movies as well, and it’s just something in this one, the combination of it all just kind of worked! If we could figure this out then we would be making gazillions of dollars on everything we do. It’s just the audience embraced it and they said they want this and we own it right now and that’s it, and everybody is now sick of it but I’m glad we did something that hit a nerve.
NE: What was the initial reaction when you pitched the movie to SyFy, and also to actors Ian Ziering and Tara Reid?
AF: The thing is none of the actors wanted to do the movie, at least none of the people we approached, and we approached a lot of people. When you show the script to them, I bet managers never even submitted it to their talent, because they’re reading it and are like “and then Fin jumps into a shark with a chainsaw and then chainsaw’s the… eh, ok, sorry he’s not interested. He read it, he’s not.” That’s probably what happened, Ian and Tara got it; I sat and talked to both of them before the movie, and said look we have to have fun, if you’re doing this you got to embrace this because otherwise the audience is going to know you’re not into it; and you can tell that both of them are into the movie. I mean all the actors were into this movie, and that made a big difference.
At this moment in the interview I realized how amazed and grateful Mr. Ferrante was by the fans acceptance of his film. The conversation we had was as real as you can get. Anthony Ferrente was just like you and me. A fan boy that’s passionate about what he does. He had fun making this film. Whether you loved or hated the film, the fact of the matter was you were talking about it; and that is what lead me to my next question…
NE: They’re now pushing for a Sharknado 2! They are already promoting it up and down the San Diego Gas Lamp District (outside the convention center). What are you expecting, are you going to push above and beyond with what you did with the original film?
AF: It just got announced, no one’s been signed. They’re doing the promotion to get buzz about the Twitter thing, my feeling if there is a sequel, it should have everyone back. It’s not like suddenly you have this whole new family doing it. People loved the characters, the sensibility and I think in order to do it you need to bring everyone back. I’m not saying we’re doing these movies but if you’re going to do a sequel, you want to be Evil Dead 2, you want to be Aliens, you want to be Empire Strikes Back; so you got to up the ante and you got to be bigger. We already were big for our small little budget. We were huge, we did so much stuff you’re not usually supposed to do and not able to do, and our crew and our line producer said let’s do it! So we got to double that! And I don’t know what it is; I don’t think any of us know why it struck a nerve. So we all just have to put all this aside and start thinking. We know we have New York, we know there’s set pieces we like to do and maybe we can recapture it, but until everybody signs there not much to talk about; it’s just speculation. I know everybody’s excited.
NE: Is there anything you would like to say to the fans that embraced this movie as much as they did?
AF: It was kind of a negative when we said this but I would say this sometime when we were editing the movie and stuff and it was just taking forever and it was so painful to edit this movie cause it was so complicated. I would say “embrace the nado”, you know ‘N.A.D.O; and the fans embraced it, and Robbie Rist, a friend of mine who saw a rough cut of the movie said “it’s a movie that doesn’t know it can’t do that.” And when it came out and all the stuff happened, it’s still a movie that doesn’t know it can’t do that, it’s a movie that had no marketing that became this phenomenon that everyone was talking about, it was made to be aired on TV. We made a movie, we didn’t think we made a TV movie, we thought we were making a hundred million dollar movie. You know we treated it as if it was, as if we had a hundred million dollars but we didn’t and maybe that’s what resonated. So it’s a movie that doesn’t know it can’t do that and we’re here like 2 weeks later and we’re still talking about it and it’s one of these movies this summer that’s not in theaters and I still don’t know how it did it. And speaking of not being able to do that, we had a second showing one week later and it doubled the viewership! Another thing that you’re not supposed to be able to do. I was expecting terrible numbers on the second round, because everybody’s tired of it. But it got boosted, so it’s a great feeling, it really is! And you know all the fans out there, you made this happen! You took our little movie and said we wanted to see it. You liked it, you hated it, you enjoyed having Twitter followings. That’s all you can ask as a filmmaker is that there’s engagement and the worst thing you can do is put it out and it goes splat; 5 people watched it. We made a movie and everybody knows about it and it’s great!
Since the interview, many things surfaced regarding the film’s original release. The Syfy Network has announced that they have the sequel set to a 2014 release date. It is as stated by Mr. Ferrante suppose to be set in New York City and the Syfy Network will host a Twitter contest in which a lucky winner will choose the subtitle for the sequel.
This movie received much attention from fans and celebrities alike who took to Twitter and announced their love for Sharknado, actors like Star Trek’s Wil Wheton, famed television and movie writer Damon Lindelof who’s co-wrote such films as Star Trek: Into The Darkness and Prometheus. Even the late actor Cory Monteith of television show Glee; whose final 2 tweets were about Sharknado. One this is clear, the Sharknado storm isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact due to its popularity, this Friday (August 2nd) select Regal Cinemas will be having a one night event where they will be doing a midnight showing of Sharknado at its theaters!
For more information on the Sharknado Regal Cinemas midnight showing head over to: http://www.regmovies.com/Promotions/Sharknado
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