Recently, I hassled The Hoff a bit for an interview about the upcoming Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Syfy’s third entry in its pop-culture-hit movie franchise, premiering July 22. When David Hasselhoff joined the cast, it continued its expansion to include a large number of celebrity appearances, along with Bo Derek, Mark Cuban, Ann Coulter and others.
It was probably fitting that Hasselhoff signed on to appear in Sharknado 3. He had already appeared in another purposely cheesy killer fish movie, 2012’s Piranha 3DD, and the actor referred to that title a few times in our interview as he explained why these types of movies are so bad they’re good.
Hasselhoff has embraced that tongue-in-cheek aspect of his career as a whole, as well (and one could feel that sense of fun he has about himself and his work in our interview). Telling us he has become “synonymous with the ’80s” thanks to his former TV shows Knight Rider and Baywatch, the actor clearly recognizes the draw of nostalgia, irony and, yes, cheesiness among various generations. Recently, he had an online hit with the music video for the song “True Survivor,” which was featured in the Kickstarter-funded short film Kung Fury. In it, Hasselhoff jumped and karate-kicked around in a knowing and fun throwback to videos of 30 years past. At the time of this posting, the video has over 12 million views after being up just over a month (“it’s just taken over the world,” Hasselhoff tells us), and is further solidifying his reputation among a new generation.
Sharknado 3 looks to do the same. With its increased number of celebrity appearances, and locations ranging from D.C. to Orlando — and even outer space, as Hasselhoff tells us — it could be the biggest and craziest entry in the franchise yet. Before his tongue-in-cheek sign-off to our interview with the phrase, “May the Hoff be with you,” Hasselhoff elaborated more about the movie that he has previously, and happily, said will be the “worst movie you have ever seen.”
Tell us about your character in Sharknado 3, and why you were drawn to this franchise.
I play Fin’s [Ian Ziering] father. It’s more than a cameo. I help him save the world, and we bond, get very close in the movie, kind of create a little bit of a backstory. It’s very funny what happens to me, and very heartwarming in the end. I love the idea because the script was actually good, and it actually gave me something to play with. I’d seen Sharknado 1, and I thought it was hysterical. And I really liked No. 2, the way they used all the cameos, and it’s really funny. I think people watch it because, like Piranha 3DD, they want to see how bad and how over the top it is, and I think that’s the beauty of the film. People really get it, and it brings the world together on one night, with giant sharks taking over the world. It’s just so ridiculous that it’s funny.
You said in a recent interview that this would be the worst movie audiences have ever seen. How is the franchise upping the ante in so-bad-it’s-good awfulness this time around, both in general and in your specific scenes? Any Baywatch references in your scenes?
No Baywatch references during my scenes, but I’m not sure for the rest of the movie. The specific scenes that I’m in are that my character is an astronaut. He never got to go to the moon; [he] was next in line but we never went back. And I float off into space, and you’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens to me, but when I said it was the worst movie ever made I said that with a smile in my eyes, and actually comparing it to Piranha 3DD. They’re both pretty bad movies, but that’s why they’re really entertaining. [The movie] really takes place a lot in outer space, and the Space Shuttle, Cape Canaveral, and it really went — they have a lot of guest stars in it this year that’s going to make it really fun to see who gets eaten next.
Was Sharknado 3 a pretty active role for you, with a lot of running around and stunt work?
It wasn’t a lot of stunt work, which is great because I just had both of my knees worked on after being on the road for seven months, and singing and dancing and doing my concerts. I was pretty worn out from the Knight Rider and Baywatch days, so I had some work done on my knees, and I was not really in the best of mobility when the movie started. But good news is [my character] was floating a lot in outer space and I got to sit down a lot. Really, the relationship between me and Fin, is really the core of the movie, the core of my role in the movie. But he’s truly the star. And the sharks, I think the sharks are really the stars, because every time a star comes in, it’s like, “Who’s going to get eaten?” It’s pretty funny, actually.
Do you think there will be a Sharknado 4? If there is, would you like to continue your involvement (assuming you’re not eaten by a shark in this one)?
Yeah. There will probably be 10 Sharknados. This is such a phenomenon that — the best part about this movie is that little kids will watch it, like under 13 or 14, and they’ll be really scared, they’ll take it seriously. Between 14 and 20, they’ll look at it as probably really stupid, “I’m not going to watch it.” And 20 to 40 year olds are really going to get the joke and are going to watch it to see how hysterically bad it is, and some of the lines are just so over the top. I am sure what happens to my character at the end of this, and I’m sure that I’ll be back for Sharknado 4 if I’m available. I’d love to come in and do something with Sharknado 4. It’s great to be a part of the team; it’s just such a Twitter phenomenon and reaches such a widespread, crazy audience. It’s kind of what my life’s about — it’s like, you know, let’s have fun and don’t take life so seriously, because when you do it usually gets you in trouble.
What do fans want to talk to you about the most — Knight Rider, Baywatch or your music?
I have fans that are all different. I have a Baywatch contingency; one time we put Knight Rider and Baywatch on Twitter, and I got something like 3,000 responses, whether [they preferred] Knight Rider or Baywatch. It was pretty even. When I do concerts I ask that question: Baywatch or Knight Rider? It’s pretty even, although I think Knight Rider always wins. But I [also] have a lot of people that still know me from America’s Got Talent; they know me from Britain’s Got Talent; they know me from Nick Fury [from the 1998 TV movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.]; they know me from this new movie called Kung Fury [now available online]; they know me from my music, all over the world now, specifically in Germany. But now with “True Survivor,” it’s just taken over the world.
What else are you working on, both in acting and in music?
I’m producing and starring in my own ’80s musical, which is on sale now and opens in October; it goes throughout the U.K., ending up in the West End in London. I’m releasing Killing Hasselhoff, which is a script I found a couple years ago. We finally finished the movie, and it’s a comedy. Killing Hasselhoff is an irreverent black comedy that will be out sometime in the fall, and it’s really funny, I think it’s going to turn a lot of heads. It’s a comedy based on a celebrity death pool. Ken Jeong has David Hasselhoff in a death pool; whoever dies first you get to collect. So he’s down on his luck, and he hires a hitman to actually kill David Hasselhoff. I’m [also] working on a new project now called Hour Man Hoff, and that is a secret agent spy comedy that will be shooting sometime in April. But my music will continue to go on. The musical that we’re writing; I’m doing Peter Pan in Glasgow this year for Christmas, which I do every year in the U.K. I play Hoff the Hook, a version of Captain Hook. And still being a dad, making sure that my daughters are making the right decisions; sometimes helping them, but also they help me as well. And working sometimes with my girlfriend Hayley Roberts.
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! premieres July 22 at 9pm ET/PT on Syfy, with an encore at 11:05pm.