Two years before he actually became president, Donald Trump was set to play the president in the TV movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Negotiations broke down, so Trump had to wait a full two years before taking office, and he lost his opportunity to rip through some flying sharks.
“The Donald said yes,” David Latt, the 51-year-old co-founder of The Asylum, the off-brand assembly line behind the Sharknado series, told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was thrilled to be asked.” Trump signed on to play the president in January 2015.
While Trump was not the producers’ first choice to play the leader of the free world — that honor went to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, but negotiations fell through — he received the offer from Ian Ziering, the star of the Syfy franchise. Ziering had made it as far as the penultimate task in Celebrity Apprentice, and thought his reality TV boss would make a good president.
Trump’s duties as commander-in-chief have not included fighting off a swarm of hammerheads in the Lincoln Bedroom, however.
“We got pretty far,” recalled Gerald Webb, an actor and casting director who worked on the first three films. A contract was drawn up and sent to Trump’s attorney Michael D. Cohen, the same attorney currently under FBI investigation in the Russia inquiry.
After weeks of silence, Cohen responded with a no. Trump had decided to run for the real office. “Donald’s thinking about making a legitimate run for the presidency, so we’ll get back to you,” Latt recalled Cohen saying. “This might not be the best time.”
Latt turned to Mark Cuban, much to Trump’s chagrin. “Then we immediately heard from Trump’s lawyer,” Latt explained. “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!'”
Cohen told The Hollywood Reporter he remembered a dinner with Ziering to discuss the casting issue, but had no recollection of the angry correspondence.
So that’s the story of how Donald Trump turned down becoming president — in order to take the office two years later.
No one might have been more disappointed at Trump losing the role than Ann Coulter, who played the vice president and was among Trump’s most fervent supporters in 2016.
Perhaps it’s lucky he missed out on the role, however. Sharknado 3 also featured Anthony Weiner, the disgraced ex-congressman who has been plagued with multiple sexting scandals. “I guess I am on that C- to D-level cusp of celebrity that they were looking for,” Weiner told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “But I wouldn’t have conceived of doing it if I were going to play myself.” He played a dull NASA administrator, and most of his performance was edited out.
Watch one of the most hilarious scenes from Sharknado 3 below.