Time now for a few words about Syfy’s most successful TV movie (ulp, make that movies) ever. Which also happens to be its. um, well, the word we want is – worst:
‘Sharknado 2’ Writer on Embracing the ‘Outlandish
by Philiana Ng
Ratings for the first Sharknado didn’t match Twitter fervor (at one point, the telepic averaged 5,000 tweets per minute); the July 11, 2013 premiere telecast lured just 1.4 million viewers, but an encore roughly two weeks later surpassed that with 2.1 million. Syfy hasn’t been shy about capitalizing on Sharknado fever, ordering a third in late April — not to mention numerous merchandising and supplemental endeavors (i.e. video games, books, T-shirts) to expand the new franchise. There’s even “Sharknado Week.”
Sharknado 2 screenwriter Thunder Levin, who also penned the original, describes the follow-up as “epic,” “ridiculous” and “surprisingly heartfelt,” but most importantly, “fun.” Ahead of Wednesday’s premiere, Levin talks to The Hollywood Reporter about the challenges of hitting all the beats for “a Sharknado movie,” how he knows when he’s gone too far into the “outlandish” and creating an unexpected franchise.
Why do you think the first Sharknado movie struck a chord?
What it really boils down to is the sense of fun in the movie. It was this bizarre mashup title that delivered on the fun of the title. There have been a lot of these movies with crazy titles where they’ll either play it completely straight or play it obviously for laughs. Either way, it doesn’t quite take off, it doesn’t quite have that little wink. The characters in our movie were always grounded. They were never winking at the audience, but there was this sense of fun behind the whole thing. We’re going to do some ridiculous stuff and hopefully you’re going to enjoy the ride.
Knowing how big the response was for the first one, did that change your approach to the sequel?
Everything we did was informed by what had happened in the first. We couldn’t just go off to left field, and Syfy had already announced that they wanted the story to take place in New York. But the biggest difference for me was the amount of attention and scrutiny the story process was getting. On the first one, it was “Write a movie about a tornado filled with sharks” and then I was pretty much left alone. On this one, everybody wanted to make sure it was everything it had to be. There was a sense of responsibility in that we had to do justice to the characters, had to keep them consistent, but we also had to provide the fans with what they would be looking for. That was the guiding principle — making sure we didn’t go too far in the other direction and turn it into something slapstick, which it was never supposed to be and never was.