Donald Trump once threatened to sue the producers of the TV movie "Sharknado 3" if they didn't cast him as the president, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In January 2015, a year before he announced his candidacy for the allegedly real presidency, Trump nearly signed on to play the Commander-in-Chief in the third installment of the inexplicable Syfy film series. (The producers couldn't come to terms with Sarah Palin.)
"The Donald said yes," says David Latt, a producer of the Sharknado series. "He was thrilled to be asked."
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The franchise — a takeoff of B- to D-list movies that features a bunch of cameos by B- to D-list stars — involves sharks that drop from the sky and consume their victims in settings ranging from the subway to the set of Kathie Lee & Hoda.
"We got pretty far," said casting director Gerald Webb. "It was serious talks."
The producers sent a contract to Trump's attorney Michael D. Cohen — who is now the subject of an FBI investigation in the Russia inquiry — only to hear nothing back. The reason soon presented itself: "Donald's thinking about making a legitimate run for the presidency, so we'll get back to you," said Latt. "This might not be the best time."
The producers offered the role to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who later called presidential candidate Trump a "danger to the country"). The billionaire accepted. Excited, the network sent out a press release.
"Then we immediately heard from Trump's lawyer," said Latt. "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 that he remembered having dinner to discuss casting Trump but not the email freakout.
"I took it personally, but I get it now," said Webb. "That was my moment of doing business with Donald Trump. And that's Sharknado."