Sharknado 2: The Screenwriter Hints At Global Sharkpocalypse

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2Photo: Courtesy of SyFy.
Just before Sharknado premiered in 2013, screenwriter Thunder Levin said it would be the end of our shark fascination. "I think the shark genre has reached its natural and logical conclusion," he told i09.

He couldn't have been more wrong, because it's happening — again.

This week, America anxiously awaits the premiere of Sharknado 2. Ian Ziering says he's prepared to face another 20 sharknados. And, Tara Reid is also ready to return to battle. So, to gear up for the second installment of the shark-attack film, we spoke with Levin about the art of writing a film about a literal whirlwind of killer fish.

So, Sharknado 2 is happening. Are you surprised?
“Once it blew up that first night, it was kind of inevitable that there would be a sequel. The decision was made pretty quickly.”

Were there any big changes between writing the first and second movies?
“Yeah. I mean, the first one nobody really knew what was gonna happen, so I was very much left alone to my own devices. You know, I think I wrote the whole script in about a month, and then there were some notes and revisions that had to be made, but it was a pretty quick process. And, this time — after the first one was a big hit — everyone wanted to really make sure that this lived up to that and surpassed it, so there were a lot of eyes on this one, and everyone wanted to make sure it was the best it could be. So, the process was a lot slower because each step along the way had to be approved by more people, and they were paying more attention to it. But, I actually got to start writing the script — the first draft, again, took about a month. And, then there were some revisions. Of course, we were changing things right up until the shooting, really even continuing through it, since we had to adapt to weather and things like that, and casting opportunities.”

Have you ever interacted with sharks before, or did you have to do a lot of research?
“I have snorkeled with sharks on a couple of occasions. I’m a sailor from way back. I spend a lot of time on the water. I’ve seen sharks out in the wild. I had an unknowing close encounter with a great white. I found out about it afterward. I was on summer vacation over at Catalina Island. I was in this one particular place snorkeling one day — nothing happened. But, the next day, I was at the marine science center on a tour, and somebody asked the guide if there were ever great whites in the area, and he said, 'Yes, just yesterday a great white killed a seal over there.' And, it was the place where I had been snorkeling. I didn’t actually run into the great white, but it was a near miss.”

What do you think it is about sharks that make us simultaneously fear and celebrate them?
“Well, it’s a strange quirk of human nature that we have always been fascinated by the things that scare us. I guess it’s a way of dealing with the fear, to bring it out into the light, as it were. So, the fact that we celebrate them is probably just a by-product of the fact that they scare us. And, they are very impressive. They’re creatures that do three things: They swim and they eat and they make little sharks. And, they’re very good at it. The fact is they don’t really attack people, as a rule, but they’ve got all those teeth, and they attack other things, and they mistake us for other things on occasion. I think it’s legitimate that we’re scared of them, and we’re fascinated by them at the same time.”

What was it like to write a script in which your hometown was attacked?
“That was great fun actually. Outside of film school, I have never made a New York film. So, to be able to do that, and do so with glee, was great. It was a chance to sort of celebrate New York as a place, and the lifestyle and the way people in New York come together in the face of adversity — very different from what happens in L.A. That comes into play in the film.”

So, it’s like an “East Coast/West Coast Rivalry Continues: Who Handles Sharknados Better?”
“There you go. Well, you know, the sharknados are always gonna be tougher in New York.”

Do you think there’s any chance this will be a trilogy? Sharknado III?
“Well, that’s what they’re saying! They’ve already announced that they want to do a third one. We haven’t had any conversations about that, but that seems to be the plan. I mean, assuming the second one is successful.”

Where would you set it? If you had to choose the third one, where would it be?
“Again, this is just me, there have been no official conversations whatsoever. But, I would lean toward expanding beyond just one city. I’d like to see it become an international or a global sharkpocalypse.”