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Hey, shark! Cassie Scerbo's got a shotgun and she's not afraid to use it

The SyFy channel’s gloriously schlocky “Sharknado” may be the first TV movie made for the Twitter generation: Impossibly bad, with a ridiculous premise (a killer funnel cloud sucking up and then raining thousands of giant sharks), a bikini-clad heroine, buckets of blood, stars just well-enough known to make you care (sort of) and an epically inspired name, “Sharknado” is just begging for your witty 140-character, Dorito-dusted sofa critique.

“It’s not supposed to be an Oscar winner. It’s about sitting around with your friends … having a party with the world on Twitter,” says its swimsuit-and-shotgun-adorned star, Cassie Scerbo, who grew up in Parkland. According to SyFy's owner, NBC Universal, the July 12 premiere produced 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak and was the most-tweeted TV program of the night. (Students of Twitter culture may know that No. 2 that night was the Yankees-Royals game with Derek Jeter’s return from injury.)

Some of best included:

@pattonoswalt: “Just got a call from a 2nd A.D. on the movie I’m filming. Call time canceled tomorrow. ALL movies canceled. It’s done. #SharkNado”

@MiaFarrow: “Omg omg OMG #sharknado”

SNL’s @MrHoratioSanz: “I wish I could join in on the shenanigans, but I had a cousin that was killed by a #Sharknado back in ’93. #RamonRIP”

“You never know what’s going to hit, but America is getting it. I’m just shocked to be a part of it,” Scerbo says from her home in Los Angeles.

Indeed, there is nothing in Scerbo’s past that suggested she would be able to endure the toothy storm that strikes Los Angeles in “Sharknado,” which features a chainsaw-toting Ian Ziering (“90210”), Tara Reid and John Heard. SyFy will rebroadcast the movie at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Scerbo surfed a little while growing up in Parkland with her parents, John and Donna, and older siblings Johnny and Alaina, but she never saw a shark. The onetime Douglas High student’s first claim to fame came at 16 with the made-for-TV pop group the Slumber Party Girls, a Geffen Records quintet who hosted the “KOL Secret Slumber Party” on CBS in 2006-2007. (“It sounds cheesy, I know,” she says.)

Next came an assortment of kid-friendly shows, including the ABC Family movie “Bring It On: In It To Win It” (as a cheerleader) and three seasons on the network’s recent series “Make It or Break It,” in which she plays bitter gymnast Lauren Tanner.

“Sharknado” came along at a perfect time for Scerbo, a self-professed tomboy, who, while a natural blonde, was “tired of always playing the blonde cheerleader and the blonde gymnast.”

In “Sharknado,” she’s “the kick-ass bartender, running around in a bathing suit, carrying a shotgun, killing sharks. It’s totally up my alley.”

Two more resume-worthy moments are just around the corner for Scerbo. She’s restarted her singing career, and is nearly done recording her first single. ("I'm so excited, but I can't really talk about it right now.") And next weekend, she’ll be seen on the big screen in … “Sharknado.”

Yes, the Regal Cinemas chain is planning to present midnight screenings of the film at select theaters around the country on Aug. 2.

“It’s crazy, but everything about ‘Sharknado’ has been strange,” Scerbo says.

South Florida theaters with midnight showings of “Sharknado” on Aug. 2 include: Regal Cypress Creek Station Stadium 16, Fort Lauderdale;  Regal Magnolia Place Stadium 16, Coral Springs; Regal Royal Palm Beach Stadium 18, Royal Palm Beach; Regal Sawgrass Stadium 23, Sunrise; Regal Shadowood 16, Boca Raton; Regal South Beach Stadium 18, Miami Beach; UA Falls 12, Miami. Tickets will be $12.50. More info:

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at and on Twitter at @BenCrandell.


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