Interview: Jaason Simmons on Sharknado
The former Baywatch actor on fear of sharks, The Asylum and finding the ultimate B movie title
How did you hear about, and then get involved with, Sharknado?
When the script first came to me it was called ‘Dark Skies’. I got the offer on the Monday and had to start shooting on the Wednesday. For the most part, I just wanted to see if I could pull it off. I had never shot a movie with so many visual effects before, so I thought it would be good to learn some new tools of the trade.
Your character Baz Hogan is the wisecracking badass of the film - how close is that to what you'd be like in the event of a real sharknado?
I would be laughing my ass off a lot more if a tornado of sharks hit LA, and I would have a far better weapon than a baseball bat. If I can look like a badass with a bat – imagine if I had an arsenal of actual weapons!
How long was did it take to shoot the movie? I've heard The Asylum movies are remarkably tight on both budget and deadline.
18 days and yes they are.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rate your fear of sharks (10 being most scared)? And has this changed at all with the filming of Sharknado?
Even though my family is from London, I was born in Tasmania. For that reason my fear of sharks rates about 1.5. I have no real fear of them at all. I have been in the ocean since I was 2 years old. Live and let live. If they get too close and feisty just give them a quick punch on the nose and they will get the message. If they don’t, you'd better swim fast!
Being involved in a cult production like this means you'll have a certain amount of recognisability with a certain audience. Have you been stopped in the street in relation to Sharknado yet?
Yes indeed. But a quick shave of the head and situation solved. I was recently mobbed on Hollywood Boulevard while trying to return a shirt to Zara. Well Baz did, unless mum changed my name at birth without my knowledge!
*SPOILERS* Your character doesn't suffer a grisly, on-screen demise in Sharknado, instead you're swept into the storm and not heard from again. Can we look forward to a Baz appearance in future Sharknado movies?
Well you know what they say. If sharks can fly, anything is possible.
Finally, I've come up with 5 alternative Sharnado-style spin-offs: Crab Hail, Eelstorm, Squidquake, Portuguese Man O' Warm Front and S-Haar-k. Could you rate them and let me know if you'd be interested in coming on board for any of them? I feel like getting your name attached ahead of time would really help them get greenlit.
Some good titles there! For me, nothing will top the title of Sharknado. It’s the ultimate B movie title. I couldn’t possibly rate your spin-offs, that’s the fun of it. It comes down to what the fans want to see. Would this movie have done so well if it was released under the working title of 'Dark Skies'? I think not.