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posted: 7/28/2014 6:00 AM

'Sharknado 2' ready to take bite out of Big Apple

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  • Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) once again fights to survive a freak shark storm in Syfy's "Sharknado 2: The Second One."

    Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) once again fights to survive a freak shark storm in Syfy's "Sharknado 2: The Second One."

  • Video: "Sharknado 2" sneak peek

By Kate O’Hare

Last year, chainsaw in hand, surfer and bar owner Finley "Fin" Shepard (Ian Ziering) defended Los Angeles from deadly sharks scooped from the sea by a freak storm and rained onto Tinseltown.

Syfy's campy horror flick "Sharknado" turned into one of the biggest social-media stories of 2013, with everyone from CNN newsman Jake Tapper to actress Mia Farrow hitting Twitter to talk about it.

Come Wednesday, July 30, on Syfy, the freak storm strikes again, as "Sharknado 2: The Second One" crosses the continent to hit New York City. Fin's back, along with wife April (Tara Reid), with Mark McGrath stepping in as Fin's longtime pal and brother-in-law Martin.

Guest stars and cameos include Kelly Osbourne, Judah Friedlander, Andy Dick, Judd Hirsch (as a cabbie), Kurt Angle and Robert Klein (as the mayor), along with Al Roker and Matt Lauer from NBC's "Today" show.

Once again, Anthony C. Ferrante directs from a script by Thunder Levin, with the Big Apple as a backdrop. After doing lots of promotion on his own for the first film, it was still a shock to see it blow up into a cultural and merchandising phenomenon.

This gives him a kinship with his lead character, whose life has also been forever changed.

"There's a little meta-ness to the second movie," Ferrante says during a busy press day at a Pasadena, California, hotel, "in that what's happened to Fin and April is similar to what happened to all of us -- myself and all the actors -- with this movie.

"It became a phenomenon; it became this thing. Fin's, like, 'I lost two friends; I almost destroyed half of Los Angeles, and I was swallowed by a shark.' We had to acknowledge it."

But wrecking L.A. is not like wreaking havoc on New York, which holds a special place in the American heart, especially in the wake of 9/11.

"There's enough you can do with New York," Ferrante says, "that doesn't remind you of things. Obviously, we're not going to see a building collapse, but it's OK if two sharks hit it.

"We buy goodwill, because in Los Angeles, people are in it for themselves. When you're in New York, New Yorkers come together."

For husband, father and music star McGrath, it was a chance to play something he's familiar with -- a family man with a little party in his past.

"Fin and I were the same guy growing up," he says, at the same hotel. "There's a love and a bond, and he respects me, but we got into a little trouble down on the Jersey Shore back in the day.

"We might have ... been having fun with the Jersey Shore gals, Snooki-style. But I was his best friend."

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