Af­ter ‘Shark­nado,’ Ian Zier­ing bat­tles a ‘Zom­bie Tidal Wave’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOBBIN

When you don’t have sharks left to fight, what’s next?

Well, zom­bies ... at least in Ian Zier­ing’s view.

Also back in Fox’s cur­rent “BH90210” se­quel se­ries, the ac­tor is re­turn­ing to ac­tion-hor­ror turf af­ter sur­viv­ing six “Shark­na­dos.” He and a fel­low vet­eran of that movie fran­chise – writer Thun­der Levin – de­vised the story for “Zom­bie Tidal Wave,” mak­ing its Syfy de­but Sat­ur­day, Aug. 17. Zier­ing is a pro­ducer as well on the thriller, which also brings back an­other “Shark­nado” alum, di­rec­tor An­thony C. Fer­rante.

“Af­ter do­ing those movies and re­al­iz­ing the need for con­tent, I fig­ured, ‘Why don’t I try to do some­thing on my own?’ ” Zier­ing re­flects. “I’ve got a pro­duc­tion com­pany, and I al­ways wanted to branch out. It was right around the time of ‘Shark­nado 2: The Sec­ond One’ that I rec­og­nized the for­mula Syfy looks for in its movies, and I pitched them ‘Zom­bie Tidal Wave.’ And I knew that once I got the green light from them, find­ing fi­nanc­ing would be pretty easy.”

Though he was ready to go at that point five years ago, Zier­ing ex­plains “Zom­bie Tidal Wave” was de­layed be­cause “we kept mak­ing ‘Shark­na­dos.’ Once those came to an end, I was able to get into pro­duc­tion with this, and we shot it in Thai­land. I’d had enough with shoot­ing in freez­ing cli­mates! Plus, the land­scape there is re­ally con­ducive to this movie; it cre­ates a per­fect visual con­text.”

Zier­ing’s suc­ces­sor to “Shark­nado’s” chain­saw-wield­ing Fin Shepard is Hunter Shaw, who also has a unique weapon – “Hell, yeah!,” Zier­ing con­firms – de­rived from zom­bie lore that the ac­tor-pro­ducer re­searched. “There’s some­thing I find fas­ci­nat­ing about a fish-out-of-wa­ter sce­nario,” he says, “with an or­di­nary man who has to rise to the level of do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things. When fail­ure isn’t an op­tion, peo­ple can achieve great things ... and I like char­ac­ters like that.

“Hunter is some­one who has dis­tanced him­self from so­ci­ety,” adds Zier­ing. “He’s a re­tired fire­fighter who lived in New York and lived through 9/11, and all the death and dis­as­ter was a sys­tem over­load for him. As much as he en­joyed help­ing peo­ple, it was crush­ing for him not to be able to save every­one. He’s got a boat and sails the seas, and now, he finds him­self on one of the outer is­lands of South­east Asia.”

Bi­o­log­i­cal ex­per­i­men­ta­tion gen­er­ates the zom­bies the tidal wave ul­ti­mately de­liv­ers, and as with “Shark­nado,” Zier­ing (also seen lately in DC Uni­verse’s “Swamp Thing”) hopes there’s more to come. “As with ev­ery­thing, you aim for the stars,” he rea­sons, “but it all de­pends on the au­di­ence’s re­ac­tion to this. We have ideas for a half-dozen or more sto­ries to con­tinue this.”

Ian Zier­ing stars in and pro­duces Sat­ur­day’s new Syfy movie “Zom­bie Tidal Wave.”

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