“Cheesy. Fun. Sharksonthemoon.“
That’s Shark Side of the Moon writer Ryan Ebert’s three words to describe his new film on Fox’s free streaming service, Tubi.
I was able to interview Ebert about this project after watching the film this past weekend. I hope you enjoy our conversation!
Sheehan: Nearly everyone has heard of Sharknado. Two-part question here… 1: How much inspiration did you gain from those movies? And 2: Do you hope for more Shark Side of the Moon stories?
Ebert: “1. Sharknado will always loom large over any crazy shark movie, especially at The Asylum. Tubi literally asked for “Sharknado” pitches, and Shark Side of the Moon was born from that request. In a way, we would not exist without it. Additionally, the director of all the Sharknado’s – Anthony Ferrante – is a good friend of ours (mine and my wife, Anna Rasmussen, co-writer of Shark Side). He was always happy to offer advice and pitched a couple ideas that made it in the script. While not connected in any way (for now…), making something with Sharknado-level insanity was definitely on our mind from day one of the screenwriting process,” Ebert said.
Ebert: “2. We set it up for a sequel, so the hope was always there. We’ll see how it all goes with this one, but it’s every writer’s dream to get a franchise, so to be able to continue with any surviving character’s journey (no spoilers) would be a dream come true. Personally, I am pulling for a trilogy, but again, we will see how it goes,” Ebert continued.
Ebert mentioned “The Asylum,” a movie studio that’s created films like Sharknado, Ape vs. Monster, Insect, Jungle Run, and many more. I’ve provided background on the studio below.
“The Asylum is one of the world’s leading brand-oriented motion picture and television studios. With a focus on high-concept, market-driven entertainment, like the SHARKNADO franchise and the popular BLACK SUMMER and Z NATION TV series, The Asylum finances, produces and releases 25 films per year through its direct pipeline to the nation’s top platforms and its network of international partners. Since its founding in 1997, The Asylum has released more than 500 films and has built a library of over 300 original productions, including top-rated programs for Netflix, Tubi, SYFY, Lifetime, Ion Television, Animal Planet, as well as Hallmark Channel, Sony Television, BET, and Universal TV. The Asylum’s apocalyptic thriller BLACK SUMMER was the #1 scripted series on its Netflix release. And its critically acclaimed action-horror series, Z NATION, is one of SYFY’s longest-running and highest-rated. Now THE ASYLUM MOVIE CHANNEL – a Free Ad-supported Streaming TV entertainment network, with over two million hours watched per month, is one of the top-rated OTT entertainment networks,” The Asylum’s website reads.
Sheehan: Walk me through your writing process. Where’d these ideas come from? How’d it feel seeing them come to life on screen?
“My wife (the head of development at The Asylum and one of the most talented writers I know) was tasked with coming up with a bunch of shark-related pitches for Tubi. Half need to be “Sharknado”, half need to be “Jaws” (or something like that). She asked for some help and we put our heads together. She was the one who came up with the title, and once she said it out loud, I was so inspired I immediately spat out the logline. It felt like a club SNL’s Stefan would say “had everything”: Cold War KGB Scientists, talking half-human half-shark hybrids, a lady Shark leading a lunar colony, a guy who lived on the moon for 40 years and raised a daughter there. We submitted it, and once Tubi gave us the okay, it was off to the races. We had a lot of back-and-forth with the producers (18 drafts of the script over a two-month period), but we were often told to “make it crazier”, so we kept pushing until finally, it was all approved and we started getting a cast and crew together to make it happen,” Ebert said.
“Seeing it come to life was wild. I was actually on set almost every second of the week and a half or so shoot, and I learned so much. I’d hear the actors say my words and sometimes I’d cringe thinking “I definitely wish we could do a 19th draft about now…” but then I’d see them pull of something amazing and fun and I remembered what a joy and privilege it is to get this chance. Not everything could realistically get shot the way it is in the script (again, it was a very short shoot), but when I saw those absolutely jacked hybrids ripping people open on the screen for the first time, let me tell you. That was special,” Ebert continued.
Sheehan: What would you tell my readers on why they should watch the movie?
“Because some movies are just supposed to be fun. If you are looking at this to be a gritty, dark exploration of terror, Hulu just put out an incredible movie called PREY, and you should really enjoy that (I know I sure did). But if you need a fun movie that knows exactly what it is and you and your friends need something ridiculous and insane to laugh at, SHARK SIDE OF THE MOON is only on Tubi,” Ebert said.
(I’ve also watched Prey, I agree that it was an incredible movie. Check out it for a lot of hard-hitting action and a great story. Okay, back to the interview).
Sheehan: What’s your favorite part of the story/movie?
“Officially, I love the father-daughter relationship between Sergei and Akula. I love non-traditional father-daughter relationships in media (KICK ASS, THE LAST OF US, just to name a couple). That, and watching Commander Nicole take control of the insane situation she finds herself in. Maxi Witrak is a star and seeing her command the screen (no pun intended) was such a delight.
Unofficially, my favorite thing in the whole movie was getting to be the first casualty and watching myself get punched in half by a shark. (Spoiler alert!),” Ebert said.
Sheehan: What are your hopes & dreams for the movie?
“In a perfect world, Sharknado 2.0. That was never a likely scenario, but if we can nestle ourselves into “cult-classic” territory and become staples in a handful of households, that would be wonderful. Also, I WANT MERCH! If I ever see someone wearing a SHARK SIDE OF THE MOON t-shirt, I’ll do a backflip. Probably immediately die afterwards, but it will be worth it,” Ebert said.
Sheehan: Any future projects you’re currently working on you’d like to share?
“Hopefully hearing about a potential sequel (fingers crossed!). For now, I’m just making my own sketches and comedy short films, so if anyone is interested in seeing those as they become available, you can follow me on Twitter or IG (@TheRyanEbert). I also have an ongoing series of old-school comedy “radio plays” where I write every episode and voice every character called ROWDY BUNTER: BOUNTY HUNTER on YouTube. It’s quite dumb, and some of my favorite work,” he said.
Sheehan: Any topics I didn’t ask about you’d like to discuss?
“I just wanted to give a shout out to the directors of SHARK SIDE OF THE MOON, Glenn Campbell and Tammy Klein. They not only directed one of the most ambitious scripts in Asylum history, but Glenn is also the VFX lead (and an absolute legend to boot). There are some VFX in this film that could go toe-to-toe with movies 100x the budget and given years to make. What they accomplished on the VFX side of things in only a few weeks is remarkable. I owe them everything,” Ebert said.
You can watch Shark Side of the Moon right now on Fox’s free streaming service, Tubi.
For more information on Shark Side of the Moon, click here for the IMDB page.
Before you do, I want you all to realize this film isn’t going for all of the Academy Awards next year. As Ebert said, it is meant to be fun and cheesy. If you are familiar at all with the Sharknado movies, you know what he’s talking about. And after watching it, I can attest this movie achieves those goals.
Did I have fun watching the movie and enjoy it? Yes, absolutely. I laughed quite a lot and had a good experience with it. I want to thank Ryan for agreeing to this interview, and we’ll see if there’s going to be a sequel to Shark Side of the Moon. If you need someone to go fighting some hybrid sharks, Ryan, you know where to reach me!