Donald Trump was really upset not to play the president in Sharknado 3

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Amy Swales
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It revels in its own stupidity and delights in the incredulity of those watching the absurd and preposterous scenes unfold.

So Donald Trump appearing in terrible cult franchise Sharknado should have been a match made in shark-infested-tornado heaven.

However, David Latt – co-founder of film company The Asylum – says that the now-president’s cameo, intended for 2015’s Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, fell through. And that Trump, being the reasonable human he is, threatened to sue over it.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Latt says the former reality star was “thrilled to be asked” to play the role of US president and “serious” negotiations commenced – even getting as far as a contract being drawn up (Sarah Palin was first choice, apparently).

However, unfortunately for Sharknado fans (and for the rest of the world, it turns out), he was getting ready to make a real bid for the presidency and Trump’s lawyer Michael D. Cohen told Latt, “This might not be the best time”. Definitely referring to the cameo and not to the next four years, presumably.

The part was recast (taken by owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban) but Latt reports that as soon as they issued a press release on the matter, Trump threw his toys out of his pram.

“We immediately heard from Trump’s lawyer,” he says. “He basically said, ‘How dare you? Donald wanted to do this. We’re going to sue you! We’re going to shut the entire show down!’”

But despite that, instead of joining the surprisingly long list of celebrity cameos, including Clay Aiken, Olivia Newton-John, Kelly Ripa, Perez Hilton, George RR Martin and our own Katie Price, Tom Daley and Jedward, Trump was elected leader of the free world. And said free world got a plot twist more far-fetched and grisly than anything the team behind Sharknado could have conjured up.

The Hollywood Reporter states that Cohen “acknowledges a dinner with [Sharknado star Ian] Ziering to discuss casting Trump, but says he has no recollection of the angry correspondence.”

If only his presidency was still the stuff of fiction. We guess it’s possible Trump actually thinks he got the part, and has been acting his little socks off ever since.

The Syfy franchise is said to have begun with a single word after an exec heard someone say “sharknado” and demanded it be brought to cinematic life. Now on its fifth instalment (Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, in which the sharks are “bigger, stronger, stranger”), the joke apparently isn’t getting old – though reports that its female star (arguably the most well-known, too) Tara Reid gets paid a quarter of what co-star Ziering receives aren’t all that funny.

Following Sharknado 3’s cliffhanger, viewers were asked to vote on whether Reid’s character April should live or die in the next film, which The Hollywood Reporter links to her having voiced annoyance over wage issues during filming. The team denied the idea, and fans voted April to survive.

Reid told the publication that she didn’t feel particularly looked after on the films, saying: “I think Sharknado cares more about their ‘extra of the day [celebrity cameos]’ than they do about their own cast.

“You work at something for five years and you don’t get treated as well as someone who shows up for a single day?”

And in an interview published in The Guardian, she says the public vote – which she discovered upon reading the script – felt “abusive” and like “bullying”.

“I didn’t like that. I’m going to be honest, when I read it in the script I was like: ‘I don’t want to do that.’ Because what if everyone hates me and wants me to die? That scares me, you know?

“You vote for a president and you find out the next day who won the election, but I had eight months before I found out.”

She agreed with the interviewer that such a move put her in a place of “extreme vulnerability”, as, you know, it’s only her livelihood – and it appears she had no choice in the matter: “You’re absolutely right. It can get quite abusive, you know?

“There’s definitely a lot of bullying. I almost felt like I was being bullied myself, even though they were doing it to my character.”

Image: Rex Features