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'Sharknado 2' plans to please fans by sticking to the formula, says Ian Ziering

TORONTO - How does the sequel to SyFy's instant campy classic "Sharknado" meet the unexpected success of last summer's original?

By sticking to the formula, says Ian Ziering, who stars in the film as Fin Shepard.

"We didn't set the bar too high in the first one," the former "Beverly Hills, 90210" actor said in a phone interview from New York.

"Sharknado 2: The Second One," set to premiere Wednesday on Space, moves the action from Los Angeles to New York, where a tornado full of bloodthirsty sharks touches down on the city. Luckily, Fin and his ex April (Tara Reid) have survived this freak weather system before and are able to share their shark-fighting techniques — in which chainsaws play a key role — with locals.

Some of these locals are quite recognizable — Ziering said celebrity cameos from those "clamouring to be eaten by a shark" add to the fun of the film.

One such celebrity is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, or more accurately, an actor playing Rob Ford. The character makes an appearance in the Canadian version of the film at a press conference pledging Canadian help for the city under siege, only to be killed off seconds later as a baby shark tears through his body.

Other cameos include NBC's "Today" show hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker, Kelly Osbourne and Billy Ray Cyrus, not to mention Vivica A. Fox and Mark McGrath as part of the actual cast.

Ziering was considering passing on the role originally but took it at his wife's urging.

"My pregnant wife with our oldest daughter on her hip told me I need to go to work and I realized I needed to take one for the team," he said. "She doesn't miss any opportunity to tell me I told you so."

Ziering couldn't have predicted that the "so bad it's good" film would become a hot topic in the Twitterverse last summer, piquing interest that translated into larger audiences tuning into SyFy during repeat airings than the premiere.

The plot of the first film sparked an online conversation that has resurfaced with the arrival of the latest instalment: Could a sharknado really happen?

Ziering's co-star Tara Reid weighed in on the debate in GQ, saying "the chances of it happening are very rare" but that sharks could in fact "be stuck in tornados."

Thunder Levin, who penned the script, also touched on the subject in an interview with website the Verge by asking: "Why are people laughing at our very important documentary about global warming?”

For those wondering, Mother Jones definitively settled the question last year — going as far to consult the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — and predictably concluded the scenario basically impossible.

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