Tara Reid stars in Sharknado 5 with Ian Ziering.
Tara Reid stars in Sharknado 5 with Ian Ziering. Contributed

Tara Reid’s Sharknado 5 secrets

TARA Reid has spent the good part of five years "screaming at nothing", convinced giant sharks are attacking her.

For most, it would be a worrying sign, but Reid is really ok with it - she can thank imaginary man-eating fish for reviving her career.

"Things are awesome," says Reid, 41, star of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

"The older I get, the better my life gets. The hard part for me was getting to this point," she says.

After close to a decade of nondescript roles in little-known productions, Reid's acting career looked close to its finish.

Then, in a bid of desperation, she signed onto 2013 telefilm, "Dark Skies".

It was the worst script she'd ever read, and Reid was reportedly paid a measly $50,000 for the lead, playing opposite Ian Ziering.

Cast members Ian Ziering, left, and Tara Reid participate in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss Sharknado 5: Global Swarming at AOL Studios in New York.
Cast members Ian Ziering, left, and Tara Reid participate in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss Sharknado 5: Global Swarming at AOL Studios in New York. Andy Kropa

But she didn't think it would matter, because "no one would see it".

Then, producers told her they were changing the name to Sharknado - she begged them to reconsider, convinced she would never work again.

But five years on, she's still riding on the coat-tails of the movie's success.

"And here we are doing Sharknado 5, it's crazy," she says.

"It's gotten me so much more exposure. It's like I'm getting a whole new career."

The original Sharknado was based on the plot line of a cyclone of man-eating sharks, wreaking havoc through Los Angeles.

A ridiculous plot-line, just ridiculous enough to harpoon the Zeitgeist, and become an unlikely hit. And it's only gained momentum since, steadily accruing a global fanbase.

This year the filmmakers decided to pay homage to international audiences and created a production schedule which saw the film shot in Bulgaria, Brazil, Rome and the UK. Most importantly though, it brought Reid to Australia.

"I love Australia. I would move to Australia," she enthuses.

"The people are awesome, the food's great, it's fun …"

Then her tone changes, "but I would need a working visa to get in.

"You can't work without a working visa and they're kinds hard to get," adds Reid, seemingly unaware of her international star-power.

Fitting for the down-under influence, Olivia Newton-John and Chloe Lattanzi have cameos in the film as bionic scientists.

And Today Show's Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic, also make an appearance as themselves, reporting on the freak weather conditions. That is, until a swarm of air-bourne sharks catapult their way through the Channel Nine newsdesk.

With a backdrop of the Oprah House, Sharknado 5 sees Reid land in a hair-raising scene when the cyclone dumps her in Sydney Harbour.

Naturally, she is encircled by hungry, gnashing sharks.

However, it didn't put her off swimming here.

"I'm not scared of sharks," she says, though she does remember the foreboding of Australian waters.

"I remember looking down (from the plane) and seeing so many sharks and stingrays," she recalls. "I was like, 'Oh my God.' And there were so many kids in the water!"

Questionable shark-spottings aside, few films - let alone telemovies - have built a worldwide base of fans as diehard as Sharknado converts. But, despite the movie's success, Reid is quick to dispel any myths she names a figure for her appearance.

"I mean, it's got better but it's not amazing, it's still a telemovie," she says.

One guarantee she does have, however, is each successive Sharknado gets increasingly ridiculous. And playing the farce is always plenty of fun.

"We laugh all the time," she says. "But I think what makes Sharknado work is the more serious we play it, the funnier it becomes."

So, is there anyone she'd like to share the Sharknado screen with?

"I think if Meryl Streep made an appearance in the next one that would be brilliant. To have the best actress in the world, just making a joke of it that would be great," she says.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premieres tonight at 9.30pm on Syfy