Little did Tara Reid suspect when she joined the cast of "Sharknado" in 2013 that the low-budget Syfy film would become a pop culture phenomenon and inspire a feeding frenzy for more movies. This Wednesday, the hunger will be satisfied with the release of "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!"
"I didn't think there would be a second, and now we're up to a trilogy," says the New Jersey-born actress, whose previous claim to fame includes the three films in the "American Pie" franchise and "The Big Lebowski." "All the time, I'm thinking, 'How am I going to pull this off? How am I going to say this dialogue? You've got to be kidding me.' It's ridiculous, and I have to say it seriously. But somehow it works."
When "Sharknado 3" opens, the entire Eastern seaboard is in jeopardy of being devoured by flying sharks. The fresh battle of man vs. fish kicks off in our nation’s capital and moves down to Orlando, Fla., with April (Reid) and Fin (Ian Ziering) in hot pursuit, trying to head off disaster.
Each entry into the "Sharknado" franchise has upped the ante, while keeping the fun. And the guest cast of the third film continues in that tradition with David Hasselhoff playing Fin's father, Gil, and Bo Derek as April's mother, May.
"The most beautiful woman alive is my mother," Reid says. "Bo's amazing. She's such a wonderful person. She's not just beautiful on the outside; she's beautiful on the inside. Her whole vibe is cool and chilled out."
Also appearing are Mark Cuban with a cameo as the president of the United States, Ann Coulter as the vice president, Michele Bachmann as herself, Jerry Springer as manic tourist Mr. White, Washington Redskins tackle Tom Compton as a reporter, NSYNC singer Chris Kirkpatrick as a pool lifeguard, and Chris Jericho as Bruce, the roller coaster ride operator.
Fans of the movies will remember that April lost her hand in the opening minutes of the second movie. As a result, this time around, she has a really cool weapon at hand to use against the lethal flying fish.
"My hand is pretty amazing," she says, comparing it to a Swiss Army knife. "Now, that it [has] gotten bit off, it's a prosthetic, so there's clips on it. We have a hand, we have a saw. It's like the bionic hand. This hand can kick some serious shark butt."
So has Reid, who acts with CGI sharks as opposed to the real thing, learned anything about these denizens of the deep?
"I have much more knowledge about sharks than I ever did in my life, which is a funny thing because people ask me about sharks and I didn't know anything about sharks, but now I've learned a lot more than I thought I would. Still, people ask me serious questions about sharks, and I'm like, "Guys, I'm not a shark expert."
It may be that the fear of a shark attack is an inherent one, because the film franchise has spread beyond the United States and found an audience worldwide. So much so that "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" will be released in 86 countries, including the U.K., Australia, and countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and it will premiere in international primetime within 24 hours of its U.S. debut.
"It's crazy that it's loved universally, not just in one place and people truly enjoy it," Reid says. "I think one of my favorite parts of this film is that the fans created this. Without the fans, we wouldn't be sitting here now because they got so involved in social media and voiced how much they love it. That's what bought us to making a second and a third. We never thought this would happen, so we have to be very grateful to the fans."
"Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" premieres Wednesday, July 22 on Syfy.