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