In its first airing on Syfy Channel, Thursday July 11 at 9 PM, SHARKNADO was generating five thousand Tweets per minute on Twitter. The movie, about a tornado that deposits ravenous sharks all over Los Angeles, was written by Thunder Levin and directed by Anthony C. Ferrante. Ian Ziering stars as Fin, a bar owner determined to rescue his family from the onslaught.
Aubrey Peeples plays Fin’s daughter Claudia, who is so angry at her father for leaving family that she initially shuns his help.
The Florida-born Peeples, speaking by phone from the set of the feature film TOKAREV, talks about her experiences making SHARKNADO. The interview was conducted a day before the announcement of SHARKNADO 2.
ASSIGNMENT X: How did you get involved in SHARKNADO?
AUBREY PEEPLES: I just auditioned. My manager set up an audition date and I just went in and read and I didn’t get called back, I just booked it off of that and started working a week or two later. It was kind of crazy – it was awesome.
AX: Were you familiar with any of the other actors in the film, like Ian Ziering or Tara Reid, who play your parents, or John Heard?
PEEPLES: I’d never met them, but I was totally pumped when I found out who was going to be in it. I’d obviously heard of all of them and seen their work.
AX: What was the hardest part for you of making SHARKNADO?
PEEPLES: I think every experience with work, you always should be working hard and focusing on what you’re doing, but the whole experience was so much fun. The hard part, I think, was a lot of the physicality of it, not just for my character, but for everyone, because you’re looking at sharks that aren’t there and fighting sharks that aren’t there, because it’s all CGI. That was the difficult part – while being soaking wet in freezing pools at four in the morning. That was the hardest part. It was also what made the shoot so incredibly fun – it was like nothing else.
AX: Were you wearing a wetsuit under your costume for your scenes in the pool?
PEEPLES: Yes. Everybody was. Cassie Scerbo was in a bathing suit the whole film, so she did not have that luxury, unfortunately. She was so cold. I felt so bad for her, but she was a trouper – she just went with it.
AX: Did you have time to do any research into sharks, so you would know what you were envisioning, or have you seen JAWS enough times to go, “Oh, okay …”?
PEEPLES: I’ve seen JAWS, I’m a big fan of JAWS, but yeah [laughs]. I think also, whenever you act, you can use personalization to think of something that has made you scared in your past. That way, you can relate to it, to put you in the right mood. But yeah, I was definitely [envisioning] things that weren’t there, but I thought it was a really, really cool experience, a really good thing to learn how to do, just as a learning experience.
AX: What did you use that scared you?
PEEPLES: I think you have that moment as an actor, you do a scene and then you move on from it. So it’s not like I’m being stupid [does goofy voice] “Oh, I don’t remember …” I put a lot of work into each moment, but then you have to leave it. You can’t go back in. At least for me, I leave it on the set. I remember the very first day was the day that we had one of the most scared moments for the actors, because that’s when the shark is eating the car.
AX: Most of the sharks were CGI, but there was one big practical model shark. Did you get to deal with the practical shark at all?
PEEPLES: I just saw the practical shark, but I never really had to touch it or anything. They put it in the pool at one point, but I never had to shove it off. I was on the stairs withTara, but I was in close proximity to it.
AX: Do you have a favorite scene from SHARKNADO?
PEEPLES: There’s a scene that I’m not really in very much, but the scene when we were filming on the bridge, when Ian is rescuing the kids from the school bus, that moment always holds a special place in my heart, because where we filmed is now my favorite place inLos Angeles. It has the most beautiful view. It’s this big bridge, it’s just gorgeous, in downtown. That day for me was very magical, because we were just standing on top of the city, basically. It’s a very beautiful place. As far as favorite scenes go, I definitely think Ian coming out of the shark dragging Cassie out of the shark with him is a favorite for a lot of people [laughs].
AX: How is Anthony C. Ferrante as a director?
PEEPLES: Anthony was the perfect person to direct this film, because he was totally wrapped up in the magic of the film. I always tell people that I feel like SHARKNADO was Anthony’s dream as a fifth-grade boy. He dreamt about fighting these giant sharks [laughs]. And so having him direct was perfect, because he approached it with such a perfect mentality, and that made it so much fun. We all got wrapped up in it, and he’s great.
AX: I have to ask about this – on IMDB, it says you played a character called “Super Hot Girlfriend” on GREY’S ANATOMY.
PEEPLES: [laughs] Yes.
AX: Is there a burden or a pride that comes with being able to play someone who’s actually called “Super Hot Girlfriend”?
PEEPLES: It’s flattering. Especially in this business, because I feel like you’re always worried about how you look. I actually didn’t go in for that role – I went in for a role that my friend actually got, where the role was a character who was eating her hair. I didn’t end up booking that, but I booked Super Hot Girlfriend, which I didn’t even know was a role. It was like [laughs], “Wow, that’s kind of awesome.” I don’t think it puts pressure on me, I think it’s just flattering that someone would think that.
AX: You’re also in the upcoming CW series STAR-CROSSED, which is about a human high-school girl and an alien teenage boy who fall in love at a time when aliens have arrived on Earth. Are you a regular in that?
PEEPLES: Right now I’m just recurring, but that was such an amazing experience. I love everyone from that. Hopefully, they’ll use me a lot. It’s a very good group.
AX: Are you one of the aliens, or one of the humans?
PEEPLES: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that.
AX: Let’s talk in more general terms. Do you like the theme of STAR-CROSSED?
PEEPLES: Oh, yeah. I am more a cynic than a romantic, but I think the subject matter will be totally well-received, and I love that we’re dealing with [science-fiction], because I’m a big nerd and I’ve always been into that. And I also love that it’s taking place in the future, because that’s so artistically satisfying, to create the world.
AX: And right now, you’re filming a movie called TOKAREV?
PEEPLES: Yes. That’s where I am right now. It’s a Nicolas Cage film, with Nicolas Cage and Danny Glover and a lot of other amazing actors. I play [Cage’s] daughter and I go missing, and Nicolas Cage tries to find me and get revenge on whoever caused me to go missing.
AX: Do you get to do any stunts?
PEEPLES: I have not gotten to do any stunts yet, but TOKAREV is the name of a gun, so if that tells you anything, we have gotten to handle some guns, which was actually really fun, which was scary [laughs].
AX: Back to SHARKNADO, when did you realize it was turning into a social media phenomenon?
PEEPLES: From the second I auditioned for it, I was like, “What in the world is this?” I’m reading the sides, and I don’t have the full script, and so I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, and at one point, it says, “A shark falls from the sky,” and I was like, “This is crazy, this is so cool.” So I walked in and I said, “Just to clarify – are the sharks falling from the sky?” And they were like, “Yes.” And I was like, “Awesome.” It’s an Asylum film, and all their films sort of have a cult following, with all their “Shark Versus a Plethora of Other Monsters.” They all have this big followings, and when I realized it was an Asylum film, I realized that we were going to have some sort of following. Now, I did not expect this much of a reaction to it – I’m so grateful and so excited for how it’s been received. But I think I noticed the week coming up to it, people were talking about it. It hadn’t aired and I didn’t see any advertising for it, except for online – there’s tons of posters and everything, but on TV I hadn’t seen anything for it, so I didn’t realize what was happening, but I had friends start talking about it, and friends of friends started talking about it, and directors of projects that my friends were working on were mentioning it to them, and I started realizing that people were setting a date to watching. And then of course when the film aired and it blew up on Twitter, that was just so exciting. I’ve never had anything like that happen. It’s so cool.
AX: What would you most like people to know about SHARKNADO and your experience on it?
PEEPLES: That yeah, it’s a crazy, fun movie, but it was a lot of hard work. And I think when you’re working that hard with the physicality of it and you’re imagining things [that will be added later via CGI] and in the pool and in the rain, the whole cast put their hearts into this film. It’s a really insane story and it’s so fun, and I think that’s the point, to have a good time. That’s what the cast totally focused on – a lot of hard work, but also we had a really fun time.
Related: TV Movie Review: SHARKNADO
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