Feed­ing FRENZY

The lat­est Shark­nado film has a spe­cial Syd­ney touch, writes Amelia Saw

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - SHOOTING STARS -

T ara Reid has spent the good part of five years “scream­ing at noth­ing,” con­vinced gi­ant sharks are at­tack­ing her.

For most, it would be a wor­ry­ing sign, but Reid is re­ally OK with it — she can thank imag­i­nary maneat­ing fish for re­viv­ing her ca­reer.

“Things are awe­some,” Reid, 41, star of Shark­nado 5: Global Swarm­ing, tells BW Mag­a­zine. “The older I get, the bet­ter my life gets. The hard part for me was get­ting to this point,” she says.

Af­ter close to a decade of small roles in lit­tle-known pro­duc­tions, Reid’s act­ing ca­reer looked close to fin­ished.

Then, in a bid of des­per­a­tion, she signed onto 2013 tele­film Dark Skies. It was the worst script she’d ever read, and Reid was re­port­edly paid a measly $50,000 for the lead, play­ing op­po­site Ian Zier­ing.

But she didn’t think it would mat­ter, be­cause “no one would see it”. Then, pro­duc­ers told her they were chang­ing the name to Shark­nado — she begged them to re­con­sider, con­vinced she would never work again.

But five years on, she’s still rid­ing on the coat-tails of the movie’s suc­cess. “And here we are do­ing Shark­nado 5, it’s crazy,” she says.

“It’s got­ten me so much more ex­po­sure. It’s like I’m get­ting a whole new ca­reer.”

The orig­i­nal Shark­nado was based on a cy­clone of man-eating sharks wreak­ing havoc through Los Angeles. A ridicu­lous plot-line, just ridicu­lous enough to har­poon the Zeit­geist and be­come an un­likely hit. And it’s only gained mo­men­tum since, steadily ac­cru­ing a global fan­base.

This year the film­mak­ers de­cided to pay homage to in­ter­na­tional au­di­ences and cre­ated a pro­duc­tion sched­ule which led the pro­duc­tion to shoot in Bul­garia, Brazil, Rome and the UK. Most im­por­tantly though, it brought Reid to Aus­tralia.

“I love Aus­tralia. I would move to Aus­tralia,” she en­thuses. “The peo­ple are awe­some, the food’s great, it’s fun.”

Fit­ting for the Down Un­der in­flu­ence, Olivia New­ton-John and Chloe Lat­tanzi have cameos in the film as sci­en­tists. And To­day Show’s Lisa Wilkin­son and Karl Ste­fanovic also make an ap­pear­ance as them­selves, re­port­ing on the freak weather con­di­tions. That is, un­til a swarm of air­borne sharks catapult their way through the Chan­nel Nine news­desk.

With a back­drop of the Opera House, Shark­nado 5 sees Reid land in a hair-rais­ing scene when the cy­clone dumps her in Syd­ney Har­bour. Nat­u­rally, she is en­cir­cled by hun­gry, gnash­ing sharks.

How­ever, it didn’t put her off swim­ming here. “I’m not scared of sharks,” she says, though she does re­mem­ber the fore­bod­ing of Aus­tralian waters.

Each suc­ces­sive Shark­nado gets in­creas­ingly ridicu­lous. And play­ing the farce is al­ways plenty of fun.

“We laugh all the time,” she says. “But I think what makes Shark­nado work is the more se­ri­ous we play it, the fun­nier it be­comes.”

So, is there any­one she’d like to share the Shark­nado screen with?

“I think if Meryl Streep made an ap­pear­ance in the next one that would be bril­liant. To have the best ac­tress in the world, just making a joke of it, that would be great,” she says.

I’m not scared of sharks!

It’s a frenzy! Tara Reid and Ian Zier­ing in Shark­nado 5.

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