Interview: ‘Sharknado: The 4th Awakens’ Director Anthony C. Ferrante on ‘Star Wars’ Gags and the Next ‘Sharknado’ Sequel
Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2016 by Fred Topel
When I reviewed Sharknado: The 4th Awakens I tried to keep it spoiler-free. When I interviewed director Anthony C. Ferrante, who has helmed all four Sharknado movies to date, there were a few specific things I wanted to discuss. He said it was okay, because if you’ve watched the trailers, most of it is in there. So spoiler warning for anyone who is still avoiding the Sharknado 4 trailers.
As the subtitle suggests, there is a parodic Star Wars reference or two, and the trailer even gives away that there’s an opening crawl. Hey, Sharknado 3 opened like a James Bond movie. Twitter voted on #AprilLives or #AprilDies after Sharknado 3, and it’s no secret that Tara Reid is back. However, the film picks up five years after the cliffhanger scene on the beach at the end of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Now Aston Reynolds (Tommy Davidson) has devised a way to eliminate tornados, but the sharks find their way into other weather phenomena. Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) is still the only man who can stop them.
Read our Sharknado director interview below.
Was I right that you were doing a superhero movie?
Oh yeah, of course. In only a way that a Sharknado movie could do it. We kind of realized we’re always playing with different genres. So it’s one of those things where when we were doing it, it was like okay, we’re doing a pirate movie, we’ve got the Vegas thing…
People still mistake that you’re purposely making a bad and campy movie. Are you actually trying to embrace the ridiculous and make it awesome?
That is the intent. The intent is not to be bad and campy. Look, we don’t have money to do a $200 million Sharknado movie. We have 15 days and probably the craft service budget of Batman for a week. We do these movies in six months so there’s going to be some stuff that misses the bar in terms of looking super polished. We take what we’re doing seriously as if we’re doing one of those things. Also, we just go, “Look, we’re just going to be outlandish and crazy because that’s what these movies are.” They’re intended to be fun. However anybody wants to construe them is up to them. If they want to think that they’re bad and campy, that’s fine. What I’ve found in general though is the true fans that love these movies, they love them because they are what they are. Not because this label that started off, the “so bad it’s good” thing. That one still bugs me a little bit because when you say it’s so bad it’s good, okay, fine, I get that but if it’s so bad, you don’t want to watch it. I still haven’t quite understood that meme as much as the other stuff.
If you had more time for the effects, would it defeat the purpose? These are very quick gags, so we get the point and you move on.
I think the thing is if you look at all four movies, the visual effects have been improving on each film. I think there’s a lot of stuff that we would love to try to have more time to fill out. I think just having an additional 100 effects and maybe another two months would just make it even more of a meal. The ideas are crazy so I think it would be fun to maybe go even more ambitious than what we have. I think the audience would be along for the ride with us. What we originally wanted to do with the train sequence and the Grand Canyon was epic, but when you only have 15 days to make a movie, you have to shoot the nitty gritty and get it dow. Yeah, it works. It gets the point across but you sometimes would like to let some of this breathe just a little bit more.
You did James Bond in Sharknado 3. Did you just have to do Star Wars?
The James Bond thing was something I kind of knew I wanted to do and everybody was kind of like, “I don’t know if we should be doing that.” I go, “Let’s just try it.” Then it became now we’ve got to find something we could do with this one. If we didn’t do Star Wars we would be disappointing everybody. Even at that, we kind of did Star Wars in the last movie with the lightsaber chainsaw so it’s not an anomaly to this franchise. I don’t think we hit it until the gag is dead either. I think there’s just enough Star Wars gags in this movie that it satisfies the subtitle but I don’t think it’s intrusive.