Bo Derek’s comeback: Bo Derek Sharknado

Published: July 23, 2015

Bo Derek’s comeback: Bo Derek Sharknado, Ryan Newman and Jack Griffo star in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, premièring at 6 tonight.

Bo Derek says she’s never been that ambitious when it comes to her acting career.

“I wish I had made other movies,” she said recently. “I turned down a lot more money than I ever made. But at the same time, would I be who I am now and happy? I have the best friends.”

Not to mention her boyfriend of 13 years: actor John Corbett (Sex and the City).

It was 36 years ago when Derek became an overnight sensation in Blake Edwards’ hit comedy 10, playing Jenny, a beautiful young woman who becomes the obsession of a middle-aged composer (Dudley Moore).

Women quickly copied Derek’s cornrow hairstyle, and sales of Ravel’s Bolero, which plays an important – and funny – part in the romantic comedy, went through the roof. The dream sequence of Jenny running in a revealing one-piece bathing suit toward Dudley’s besotted George on the beach is one of modern cinema’s more vividly remembered moments.

Derek, then married to writer-director-actor John Derek, 30 years her senior, wasn’t prepared for the sudden fame. “It was overwhelming. I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have PR people.”

As Bo Derek, 58, walked out of a Studio City restaurant to have her picture taken, a waiter remarked, “She looks fabulous!”

Derek smiled when told about the waiter’s observation. “I’m always surprised people still know who I am,” she said with a smile. “It has been such a long time.”

She’s back in front of the camera playing April’s (Tara Reid) mother in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, which premières at 6 tonight on Space. The third in the series of deliciously cheesy satirical disaster movies finds the East Coast being destroyed by those sharknado cells filled with hungry sharks.

In addition to Reid, Ian Ziering returns as Fin and David Hasselhoff is on hand as his father. Rick Fox, Mark Cuban, Penn and Teller, Frankie Muniz and Jerry Springer are among the eclectic cast members who pop up in the third instalment of the media sensation.

Sharknado auteur Anthony C. Ferrante said Derek was at the top of the list to play April’s mom.

“She’s an icon,” he said, adding that his favourite Derek film is the 1995 Chris Farley-David Spade comedy Tommy Boy, in which she plays a con woman who marries Farley’s character’s father (Brian Dennehy).

“That was kind of the linchpin for me,” said Ferrante.

Sharknado 3 was shot in a breathless 18 days. Ferrante said Derek “was a real trouper” while shooting on location at Universal Orlando. “In the first half of the day we had moved her to four different locations,” he recalled.

Derek hadn’t seen the first two Sharknado films but had noticed all the Twitter traffic when they aired in 2013 and 2014.

The film, she said, “is an event. It’s fun. It is not about acting. We know it’s not about us, it’s about the sharks.”

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