Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Things To Do

Director of 'Sharknado' talks favorite Sharkmoments before Tampa screening

RECOMMENDED READING


Anthony C. Ferrante can't escape that other shark movie directed by that other guy.

Not that anyone confuses the Sharknado franchise with Jaws, or Ferrante with Steven Spielberg, even after directing all four schlock-tacular Syfy channel movies. His fifth, Sharknado: Global Swarming, debuts in August.

That's one more than the Jaws franchise. Four more than Spielberg, but Ferrante isn't counting. He's just proud that since 2013's phenomenal debut, his Sharknado movies are mentioned in the same breath as Jaws, for better or worse.

"It's an honor but it's also kind of ironic," Ferrante said by phone from Los Angeles. "The weird thing is that you have this Jaws franchise that is the crown jewel and we just kind of dismantled 40 years of terror with one silly movie...

"One guy told me: 'Jaws made my kids afraid to go into the water and Sharknado made it okay for them because they could laugh at sharks.'"

TAKE THE KIDS: Shark Con comes to Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa

Ferrante visits Tampa on other shark business. He'll attend Friday's 10 p.m. screening of Sharknado at Tampa Theatre, conducting a post-show Q&A. On Saturday he's a speaker at Shark-Con 4 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, also taking questions.

Someone, sometime this weekend will drop the J-word. Ferrante's good with that. As a former entertainment journalist, he understands the hook. Ferrante even interviewed Spielberg a few times, years before Sharknado, making no contact since.

Almost.

The filmmakers sort of crossed paths in 2015 when Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! filmed at Universal Studios Orlando, when the theme park still included a Jaws exhibit.

"We did have to ask (Spielberg's) Amblin (Entertainment) to use it in the movie," Ferrante said. "They gave us permission, which to me is the closest thing to touching the feet of Spielberg."

Ferrante isn't a one-trick shark, with a couple conventional thrillers to his credit. However, none have drawn attention like the Sharknado series that, with its worst debuts, pulls nearly 3 million viewers.

"The most important thing as a filmmaker is that people see your movies," Ferrante said. "Whether they're making fun of them or enjoying them or whatever, they're talking about it. That allows you to grow."

Maybe into a Marvel or DC gig?

"I'd be game for that," Ferrante said. "The great thing about Sharknado is that it opened the door for people to look at me in a different way: 'Oh, he can handle visual effects, he can handle humor.' And there's still drama and actors acting in these movies when there aren't sharks flying around."

For now, Ferrante enjoys keeping Syfy's fin-in-cheek franchise swimming. Global Swarming expands the preposterous ichthy-meteorological danger worldwide under the patriotic tagline: Make America Bait Again.

"I always go back to what someone said about the first movie: It's a movie that doesn't know you can't do that" Ferrante said. "We're still living up to that mantra."

FERRANTE'S FAVORITE CLIPS

As the dorsal fin steering Syfy's Sharknado franchise, director Anthony C. Ferrante knows his schlock. We asked Ferrante to comment on his favorite moments from the first four movies, and a hint of what's coming in Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, debuting in August.

Sharknado (2013)

Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) jumping with a chainsaw into a flying shark: "That actually was the defining moment of Sharknado, that said: Okay, we're willing to go anywhere... This is not your typical shark movie. We're willing to embrace the silly."

Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

"We're in New York, so it's a combination of two things: (Fin's) big speech on the fire truck followed by him slicing the shark in two in slow motion. That's just another one of those really, really cool, fun moments."

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)

"Sharks in space. We went there. That would have been a whole movie itself in another franchise."

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens (2016)

"The thing I love about four is Tara (Reid's April Wexler) becoming a superhero. I don't think people expected us to do that... to take her and see that evolution was a cool thing."

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017)

"To be able to film in London and Italy, you know, Trevi Fountain and London Bridge, it adds authenticity, which is what we've tried to do since Sharknado 2."

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

MORE THINGS TO DO

MUSIC: Our Top Concert Picks

DINING: Where to Eat This Week

FOLLOW: Things To Do Updates on Facebook

MORE EVENTS: Search By Date, Price and Neighborhood

     
Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TodayCollege footballMississippi at Mississippi State7:30 p.m.ESPNCollege basketballMissouri vs. Long Beach State11:30 a.m.ESPN2Tennessee vs. Villanova12:30 p.m.ESPNSt. John’s vs. Oregon State2 p.m.ESPNUPortland vs. North Carolina2:30 p.m.ESPNNorth C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

NOW IN THEATERS:COCODisney-Pixar’s animated dramedy Coco (PG) is inspired by Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos, the "day of the dead" when departed ancestors are celebrated. Good for diversity, although the movie isn’t as good as its intentions.Migu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

1. Gem, Jewelry and Bead Show and Sale: Check out these rocks when more than 50 dealers from around the United States sell crystals, minerals, beads, gems and jewelry. $5. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer knows he’s overdue for a trip to Florida. For 13 years, the Grammy-winning rockabilly guitarist and big-band frontman has been packing theaters coast to coast for his annual Christmas Rocks Tour. But somehow, he keeps skipping this area....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Black Friday, Cyber Monday ticket deals in Tampa Bay: Amy Grant, Diana Krall, 98 Degrees and more

Black Friday, Cyber Monday ticket deals in Tampa Bay: Amy Grant, Diana Krall, 98 Degrees and more

This Black Friday weekend, you can head to your local shopping center and fight traffic to get the perfect gift. Or you can stay at home by your computer and give the gift of entertainment.A handful of Tampa Bay concert venues are offering ticket dea...
Published: 11/22/17
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

SWINGIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Brian Setzer OrchestraWhen you spend 13 straight Thanksgivings on the road, you build some traditions with your crew. "We get a big ballroom," said Brian Setzer. "I don’t know how many turkeys we go through, but ev...
Published: 11/22/17
Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!Or is it? Sometimes life just doesn’t come together at 2 p.m. on Thursday.Circumstances mean it’s not always possible to sit around the table on Thanksgiving, a family in a Publix ad smiling over a glistening bird. Maybe family is ou...
Published: 11/22/17
Watch the unseen footage in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ trailer

Watch the unseen footage in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ trailer

Can we all agree that John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the ultimate Thanksgiving movie? (And maybe actually his best movie of the '80s? Think about it.) And though I'm sure many of us will be watching it again this holiday weekend, when...
Published: 11/22/17
4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

Perhaps you have relatives in town for the weekend, and you’re running out of ways to entertain them. Or maybe you’re wondering what to do with your long weekend. There’s a perfect solution for either scenario: Go see some art. There’s plenty on vi...
Published: 11/22/17
David Cassidy … rest in peace

David Cassidy … rest in peace

David Cassidy was absolutely one of the biggest teen idols of the 1970s. From his lofty perch with TV's The Partridge Family, he was perhaps – along with the Brady boys – among the first male role models for kids like me who grew up glued...
Published: 11/22/17