NEW YORK – The sci-fi social media phenomenon “Sharknado” is back SyFy Wednesday night with “Sharknado 2: The Second One.” FOX411 spoke with star Ian Ziering about the passionate fan base for this, the celeb cameos, and how his job has changed since those "90210" days when they barely had cell phones.
FOX411: Are you ready for Round 2?
Ziering: The first one was such a surprise to everyone, mostly me. The anticipation for “Sharknado 2: The Second One” is global. As a matter of fact, they’re going to air “Sharknado 2” globally all within 24 hours. Last year I was doing press for “Sharknado” for five months because every country would get it one after another. Now it’s going to be all at once. If Twitter didn’t blow up last time, I’m pretty sure they’re going to challenge the hard drives over there this time for sure.
FOX411: Where were you when you saw Part 1 became a phenomenon?
Ziering: It was July 14th. I was working in Las Vegas with Chippendales. I was on stage, came off stage, checked my phone. I wanted to make sure my wife wasn't calling, there wasn’t a problem with the kids. I picked up my phone and it would beep and blurt and just alert me to what was going on. I turned it on and there were like 350 text messages. Twitter was blowing up, Facebook was blowing up, people were calling, and very quickly I saw “Sharknado,” I’m like oh no my worst fears are going to be realized, the movie is just a bomb and everyone is calling to tell me about it. I go back on stage, come back again, I get a chance to read a little more and the movie is… people are just digging it and digging it and digging it to the point where it just had a global reaction.
FOX411: What has it done for you?
Ziering: Certainly work begets work. In this business it’s important if you consider yourself a journeyman actor like I do, you need to stay topical. So I’m always looking for projects that are challenging, that put me in a light that’s different from anything I’ve ever done before. That’s why I was doing Chippendales just to show that hey I’ve got skills I can do other things. It’s not just about “90210” or working in “Domino” or any reality stuff that I’ve done before. I look at myself more as really an entertainer. Yes, I act, but there are other things that I can do.
First of all, I have to give credit to my wife because this never would have happened without her behest. I was very apprehensive of doing this. I told her, I said look honey this is really not going to make my career, this could actually be the opposite. With my daughter Mia on her hip and Penna still inside her belly she said look, you need to go to work. You have to make your insurance. What are you thinking? So I said, I gotta take one for the team. She doesn’t miss an opportunity to tell me "I told you so" now.
FOX411: You were part of a show with serious fanbase but didn’t have instant connection and interaction like now -- we weren’t doing #90210.
Ziering: We barely had cell phones on “90210.” It started in the 90s. That’s pretty much when fax machines came into play. When I first got the script for “90210” I had to come into New York to get it. It was not emailed to me, there was no email. So with the advent of all these new technologies there’s a huge quantum leap in reach. Now we’re a global society. So because of that, what took a couple years for “90210” to resonate to get to the success that it achieved, “Sharknado” on SyFy reached even before it aired.
FOX411: What was it like working with this new group on “Sharknado 2”?
Ziering: There were so many people clamoring for cameos in this movie. That was a tough thing for the director and the writer to decide. Who were we going to let be eaten? Everyone wanted to be eaten. It seems like it's a badge of honor to have that on your IMDb account when it says "Man #2 eaten in 'Sharknado.'" Vivica Fox, Mark McGrath, Judd Hirsch, Biz Markie. I know him from his music but because I have little kids at home I recognize him from “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and I got a little geeked out. Here’s the guy from “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Working with Judd Hirsch was pretty incredible because I used to watch “Taxi” all the time. It was my favorite sitcom and here he is playing my taxi driver! It’s so preposterous. There’s a lot of cameos from people you may recognize from other successes and we just, we celebrate the heroes in Hollywood.
FOX411: Was one of your “90210” co-stars almost in the movie as well?
Ziering: I spoke to Jennie. I said Jennie any chance you want to play my sister in this? She wanted to do it. She was in the middle of a book tour so she couldn’t take the time away. Kari Wuhrer is playing my sister and she does a fantastic job.
FOX411: “Sharknado 3”?
Ziering: They’ve green-lit “Sharknado 3” if the numbers come back for “Sharknado 2” in the 18-49 demographic. If they are anything like what I’m expecting, then SyFy will just make this a summer event. They’ve already green-lit “Sharknado 3” and because it’s a television movie they can turn these around pretty quickly. It doesn’t make sense as a series, but as a summer event they’ll have a year of hype to build up to it and as long as the fans continue to want it… Syfy will continue to bring it.
Fox News Entertainment Producer Ashley Dvorkin covers celebrity news, red carpets, TV, music, and movies. Dvorkin, winner of the 2011 CMA Media Achievement Award, is also host of "Fox 411 Country," "Star Traveler," "Fox 411 Big Screen," and "Fox on Reddit."