Ian Ziering feared for his safety when 'Sharknado 3' filmed at White House

Ian Ziering is changing zip codes from "Beverly Hills, 90210" to Washington, D.C., 20500 when "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" puts the entire Eastern seaboard in peril - including the president of the United States.

"Oh Hell No!" opens with Fin (Ziering) at the White House about to receive the Medal of Freedom from the president ("Shark Tank"'s Mark Cuban in a cameo) for his bravery in saving both Los Angeles ("Sharknado") and New York ("Sharknado 2: The Second One"). Just as the ceremony is about to get underway, the nation's capitol is hit by a sharknado in a scene that is described as "'White House Down' with sharks" as both the gun-toting president and Fin, who has a machine gun, take aim.

With the "Sharknado" franchise having become such a fin-tastic phenomenon, the Syfy TV movie was granted access to film at the Washington Monument, as well as just outside that famous address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in its third go-round.

"We just showed up at the White House, and we weren't  interacting with the Secret Service, but [director] Anthony [C. Ferrante] said, 'Put the camera here. We're going to shoot this way, so I need you to run as fast as you possibly can right in front of the fence of the White House.'"

Ziering recalls expressing his concern that the president's security team might not understand that they were making a movie, as opposed to posing a real-life threat to POTUS, and he was worried about his safety, thinking they might try to take him out. Despite Ferrante's assurances that all was well, Ziering still had his doubts.

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    "So I went over to the guards behind me and I'm like, 'You guys, you know what we're doing, right?  You know I'm going to run really fast, and they're like 'Yeah.' Anthony's crazy."

    But it takes a little crazy to make not one, but three movies about shark-infested tornadoes that wreak havoc on the human population -- and that, for some inexplicable reason, blowup on social media.

    So much so that Syfy received phone calls from a slew of celebrity requesting cameos. The winners include Rick Fox, Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, Penn and Teller, Jerry Springer, *NSYNC's Chris Kirkpatrick, and Ann Coulter as the vice president of the United States.

    "Oh Hell No!" also sees the addition of David Hasselhoff  as Fin's father Gil, a retired astronaut, while Bo Derek is still a "10" as April's mother May.

    "We actually got a chance to rehearse our scenes together and have some great poignant moments," Ziering says of working with Hasselhoff. "When you meet Gilbert Shepard you understand what makes Fin tick. It's kind of nice. It's very grounded and it's wonderful character development, because you can't always be slicing through sharks. You've got to ground it in a humanity. This movie does it very nicely with Fin Shepard and his family."

    The "Sharknado" franchise has displayed some very interesting ways of offing the sharks, most memorable among them is Fin chain-sawing his way through the belly of a shark, and Ziering is hoping the audience will find equally iconic moments in the third film.

    "Our writer Thunder Levin is very creative, he's very imaginative and he doesn't try to outdo what he's already done," Ziering says. "You can't outdo jumping into a shark and chain-sawing your way out. What he's so clever at is finding other moments that are equally jaw-dropping, so the movie just continues on the peaks and valleys, and it's a great, great ride for everybody."

    "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" premieres Wednesday, July 22 on Syfy.