Interview With Thunder Levin, Screenwriter Of Syfy Original 'Sharknado'
You might not have watched it the first night it premiered, but I guarantee you now know what a Sharknado is. The buzz has been inescapable and it seems SyFy, the channel responsible for that “cinematic masterpiece” called Sharknado announces something new related to the film every week whether it’s a sequel or even merchandise.
Recently, I had a chance to talk with the screenwriter of the film, Thunder Levin. Here’s what we discussed over email.
First off—did you ever anticipate this amount of exposure for this movie?
No, of course not. Who could have anticipated this?! We knew there was some growing buzz ever since the poster was released in November. So we were certainly hoping it would be successful, but there’s no way anyone could have expected this. It’s been surreal!
Do you feel people were laughing at or with the film? What was your intention and how do you feel about how the audiences responded?
My intention was to have fun with it. I think that was the intention of everyone involved. And it seems like the audience tuned into that. Even the ones who haven’t seen the film!
How on Earth did you come up with this film?
As I’ve said elsewhere, the title, and therefore the concept, were not mine. SyFy wanted the Asylum to make a movie for them called Sharknado, about a tornado of sharks, and the Asylum asked me to write it.
What were some of your favorite tweets from the night the film premiered?
Well, of course the whole Mia Farrow thing was amazing, but for me, as a filmmaker struggling in relative obscurity, I think trading tweets with Damon Lindelof was the highlight of the night. He said he was going to “write a Sharknado sequel and have it done before Sharknado was over,” and I replied that I thought “it should be a prequel. But not quite.” He responded with “Touché.” That was fun!
(Editor’s note: Will Damon actually write it?!)
Are you working on the sequel?
We’re working that out now. Probably. I think it will be fun.
What else have you written before?
I’ve written and directed three films: Mutant Vampire Zombies From The ‘Hood!, American Warships, and AE Apocalypse Earth. I also wrote a movie called 200 MPH, which I didn’t direct.
If you had unlimited budget and unlimited resources, what would be your ultimate disaster film? And who would be the star?
I’d do a film adaptation of Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle’s magnificent novel Lucifer’s Hammer about a giant comet hitting the Earth, and the aftermath. I’m not sure who’d star, but I generally think George Clooney is the right answer to almost anything. I’d also like to work with my MVZFTH! and American Warships star Johanna Watts again, and there’d be a good role for her in that.
Anything else you'd like to share with us?