Tonight, Syfy debuts the greatest shark disaster epic since Sharktopus. It's called Sharknado. And yeah, it's about a tornado — full of sharks. Thunder Levin wrote the script, and we caught up with him to ask some philosophical questions about this important film that forces us to question the very nature of reality itself.
io9: Is there any scientific basis, however tenuous, for sharknado?
Thunder Levin: Yes. There are numerous confirmed reports of fish falling from the sky, sometimes even on a clear sunny day. We just took it to the “logical” extreme.
How did you come up with such a blisteringly awesome concept?
Well, the Asylum (the company that produced the movie for Syfy) came to me just after I’d completed writing/directing duties on last year’s American Battleship (sorry, “American Warships”) and asked me to pitch them ideas for a movie called “Shark Storm”. I asked if this would be a straight up movie about sharks attacking during a storm or a crazy storm made up of sharks. They said it would be straight, so I declined, feeling like we’d seen enough shark movies and enough storm movies. A month later they came back to me and said they really wanted me to write a movie called “Sharknato” (at least that’s what I thought they said), and I asked what sharks had to do with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? I was suddenly seeing the army battling sharks invading Europe… But they said “No, Sharknado!” They gave me about half a page of notes which I read and replied “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read… I’M IN!”
Seriously, how drunk were you guys the first time someone uttered the word "sharknado"?
Alas, I wasn’t in the room for this historic moment, but they must have been pretty drunk!
Why a tornado and not a hurricane? Wouldn't that make more sense?
Actually, we have both. In the movie an unprecedented hurricane sweeps up the Pacific coast from Mexico towards L.A. driving all the sharks in this part of the ocean before it. The hurricane floods the streets of L.A., which is woefully unprepared for a hurricane. (Up to this point, it’s all fairly accurate and something we should be thinking about, disaster preparedness-wise). Naturally these floodwaters are filled with sharks! And then, as often happens, the hurricane spins off tornadoes over the ocean. As anyone would expect, the tornadoes suck up thousands of sharks. This all just seems like common sense to me…
How are the sharks cognizant enough to keep biting people while they're flying through the air?
If you were a shark and you found yourself flying through the air, wouldn’t you keep biting? I think you’d be pretty pissed about being plucked out of your nice familiar ocean where you’re king of the predators, and you’d probably take it out on whoever got in your way. Honestly, I don’t understand why people are so perplexed by this concept. The logic is undeniable.
How many sharks does an average sharknado contain? How many sharks are ejected per 5-minute period?
I can’t count that high.
Aren't the sharks at least as much victims of the sharknado as humans are?
Ah, well, now we’re into the larger philosophical issues of the film. What does it say about humans that when poor displaced sharks are ravaged by nature’s uncaring fury we try to kill them with chainsaws? I think we need to take a good long look in the mirror over that one.
What would happen if you spliced a shark with dark matter?
You’d have a sequel!
Would Man of Steel have been better if Pa Kent wasn't killed by a tornado, but a Sharknado?
That goes without saying. Now we don’t know much about dark matter. What if it’s really… Kryptonite?! Well, then you’d have some serious Superman-munching sharks flying around. Now we’re talking!
Has the shark disaster movie run its course, or are we just ramping up?
It’s called Sharknado. I think the shark genre has reached its natural and logical conclusion. (On the other hand, I heard a rumor that the Asylum is planning another sequel in its Megashark series. So you never know…)