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Get ready: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! invades local waters later this month, and it’s going to be bigger and wilder than its predecessors. Living on Syfy, the budget director Anthony C. Ferrante and the crew has to play with is what he calls a “beer budget,” but that doesn’t slow down the aggressive shark-filled gales.
“With the third movie, we give you four times the movie,” Ferrante told EW before Entertainment Weekly‘s Comic-Con Bash on Saturday night. “There’s four movies that could have been Sharknado movies in this movie. The first one’s the Washington D.C. one; there’s a road trip; there’s Orlando — we destroy a park; and then we have this other thing at the end.
“I think what it is is we take genres that we want to play in, and then we add sharks,” Ferrante continued. “So we do White House Down with sharks. Instead of guns with terrorists, it’s sharks with teeth.”
A part of Sharknado 3 transpires at Universal Studios Orlando, where the sharks demolish down the park and its attractions. Ferrante said the amusement park’s team only had two conditions for landmark destruction: The damage had to be caused by the sharks or the storm.
All references to the various intellectual properties had to be independently approved to be shown in the film, according to Ferrante. This includes a secret Jaws homage he teased to us that involves daytime talk-show titan Jerry Springer. “We had to get clearance from Amblin and [Steven] Spielberg to use this Jaws thing we wanted to do. We got approval, and we were surprised,” Ferrante said. “We were waiting for them to go, ‘No, we don’t want to be in Sharknado.’
“I know it was probably Spielberg’s people,” he added, “but deep down, the geeky little kid in me goes, ‘Oh, Spielberg kind of knows we’re around!’ “
And that’s all Ferrante wants: for the legend himself to recognize them in some way: “That’s our secret hope. Because, look: Spielberg, if you’re out there, please just acknowledge we exist, and it will make both of our days.”
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, which stars Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and David Hasselhoff, premieres July 22 at 9 p.m. on Syfy.
Reporting by C. Molly Smith.