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'Sharknado 2' tackles climate change on and off screen

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The director and some cast members of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" appeared on stage in a Pasadena hotel on Tuesday to preview the upcoming airborne shark sequel and touched on a very serious topic: climate change.

Whoever could have predicted that Ian Ziering taking on flying sharks with a chain saw would give Al Gore a run for his cinematic money?

Costar Judah Friedlander, the guy who always wore trucker caps on "30 Rock," plays a childhood friend of Ziering's character and proclaimed the film about a weather phenomenon involving flying sharks "the most important ever made about climate change."

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To be clear, he was talking about "Sharknado 2," not "An Inconvenient Truth."

The sequel moves the action from Los Angeles to New York City, where Ziering and Tara Reid return to combat the menace. Though Ziering and Reid were not present on Tuesday, cast members Kari Wuhrer and Mark McGrath joined Friedlander and director Anthony C. Ferrante to proclaim their love of "Sharknado."

"I'm in a band," said McGrath, who is the lead singer of Sugar Ray. "I'm in this movie because I'm a fan."

The first film aired last July as just another in a long line of Syfy channel original movies with purposely outlandish premises. Before "Sharknado" there was "Sharktopus" and more like it. This one involved a tornado that picked up sharks from the Pacific Ocean and spun them over the skies of Los Angeles to deadly effect.

But somehow, "Sharknado" touched a nerve, on social media at least, and a mini-phenomenon was born. Celebrities and regular folks live-tweeted the film into becoming a hit.

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Filming on the sequel wrapped just last week in New York City, and though it's set in the summertime, the crew had to contend with what longtime New Yorker Friedlander called "the worst winter I've seen in 30 years."

McGrath said during filming of one scene set during a Mets Game at Citi Field, "The snow was blowing sideways."

Ferrente added that during filming of one outdoor sequence, "It was sunny, it snowed, it rained and then it was sunny again." He said the drastic weather changes are in the film, though most will think it's a gag.

Another scene set in Times Square was on a day so cold the actors couldn't articulate their faces.

But no one seemed too worried about how that would affect their performance. "When you're unpretentious, you can be so much more creative," Wuhrer said. "You're not worried about what the critics are saying."

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EntertainmentMoviesWeatherEnvironmental IssuesEcosystemsTara ReidConservation
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