It’s a good day when you come to work and find out that the intern you're hosting is totally into your story of the day.
Today's story is about SharkCon, the science and science fiction fest about these apex predators.
While the show itself doesn't start until Saturday, some of the stars in attendance from movies like "Jaws" and "Sharknado" were available today for interviews.
And guess what? My intern, Camille Benson, is a fan of the one the actors in the latter movie, while I am an insane fan about everyone and everything in the former movie.
It was a match made in movie/intern/work heaven.
Together we are a mega-reporter, though not at impressive as the Megalodon monster truck we find at the Main Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
There are vendors everywhere, a massive shark slide, a scuba pool experience, and a gentleman from Venice, which as he explained to us, is "the Shark Tooth Capital of the WORLD!”
Meeting a cult movie favorite
Susan Backlinie, who had a small but well-remembered role in 1975's "Jaws", is slated to appear this weekend at SharkCon in Tampa. (Bobby Collins, staff)
Susan Backlinie is a retired stuntwoman and actor. You might remember her smallish part in "Jaws" as "Chrissie Watkins."
"I was in the opening scene," explained Backlinie. "I was the first victim of Bruce the Shark."
"Bruce" was the nickname the movie crew gave to the animatronic killer shark in the 1975 film, considered in movie history as the first-ever "summer blockbuster."
I believe Chrissie’s last words besides the gurgling screams and crying out to God were "Come on in the water!”
Bad choice, Chrissie.
Backlinie maintains massive cult and mainstream star status for this performance despite only a few lines and a very short life span.
(She is sucked under at 4 minutes and 32 seconds or so into the film, and that’s back when the opening credits included all the stars and big players in the movie.)
Backlinie says coming to these conventions at first made her a little embarrassed, but the love from the fans – including me – is wonderful.
"For one, you know you did a good job," Backlinie said. "Two, though it was a movie, people believed that I was her. They get just as joyful, as you did when you met me, and that’s a wonderful feeling from strangers."
From "Jaws" to "Sharknado"
Cassie Scerbo, star of the "Sharknado" films,"Bring it On", and TV's "Make it or Break It", is slated to appear this weekend at SharkCon in Tampa. (Bobby Collins, staff)
Some might argue it’s thanks to Susan’s turn as "Chrissie” in Jaws that Cassie Scerbo’s turn as "Nova” in Sharknado is even possible.
This is where Intern Camille swoops in to ask about the star's body of work, from "Bring it On” to "Make it or Break It” to "Sharknado.”
Camille: "All of these seem to have a lot of athletic abilities within the characters that you play. Yeah, so I’m just wondering kind of how is how much of that do you have to do yourself, how much of that is a stunt double?”
Cassie Scerbo: "In 'Sharknado,' I’ve come to the point where I pretty much do all my own stunts. In 'Bring It On,' they brought in a stunt double and never used her. I learned how to do all my stunts. And then 'Make it or Break it,' I had to have a stunt double because of that level of gymnastics. I’m not an Olympic hopeful.”
But Intern Camille sure is. She nailed this.
SharkCon runs July 14 - 15 at the Main Expo Hall of the Florida State Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. There is also a talk with "Jaws" stars Richard Dreyfuss on Saturday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.