By Alan Pergament
I ran into the filming of a movie on Lafayette Square Sunday morning that I was told had the tentative title of "Alligator Apocalypse" and was produced by the same company behind last summer's campy Syfy channel and social media hit "Sharknado."
Extras were supposedly battling imaginary alligators last weekend at the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets with chain saws, axes, pitchforks and shovels as Buffalo stood in for New York City, where the film is set.
But was that title purposely misleading by The Asylum, which is the film's production company?
Some suspicious extras believe they were really involved in the sequel, "Sharknado 2: The Second Coming," that is set in New York City.
If it wasn't the sequel, then there is another film coming from The Asylum that just is substituting alligators for sharks in the same scenario.
According to an extra involved in later scenes being filmed Sunday at the Lockport Cave Attraction, the director was overheard telling them that were battling sharks and not alligators.
"Sharknado" starred Ian Ziering of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame as a bar owner and Tara Reid of "American Pie" and "Scrubs" fame as his ex-wife. They battled sharks flying around Los Angeles after a tornado.
The cheesy film was the talk of social networks last summer, with celebrities heading to Twitter to give their snarky, sharky comments about a high-concept movie about thousands of flying sharks terrorizing Los Angeles after a tornado.
Some people involved in Sunday's filming here thought the director looked an awful lot like Anthony Ferrante, who directed "Sharknado" and is directing the sequel. If it was him, he had to hurry to Pasadena, Calif. for a Tuesday press conference about the film during meetings with the nation's television critics.
Additionally, some scenes were shot inside the Rand Building, which has been widely suggested as the inspiration for the Empire State Building.
It wouldn't be the first time a film company would have given out a phony title. When scenes from "Spiderman 2" were shot in Rochester, it had a phony title.
The Associated Press summary of "Sharknado 2: The Second One" certainly sounds suspiciously like "Alligator Apocalypse."
"This time the mayhem moves from Los Angeles to the East Coast, where a freak weather system unleashes sharks on the populace and famous sites such as Citi Field, home of the New York Mets," wrote the AP.
During the press conference in Pasadena, Ferrante told critics the film will feature the Statue of Liberty and Broadway.
Cast member Judah Friedlander of "30 Rock" reportedly cracked: "This to me is the most important film ever made about climate change."
I wasn't there. So I assume he was joking.
Because of the success of "Sharknado," "The Second One" has attracted a large cast of celebrities in addition to Friedlander doing cameos. Ziering and Ried are back as co-stars. The cast also includes Vivica A. Fox, Kelly Osbourne, Judd Hirsch, Andy Dick, Perez Hilton, Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Robert Klein. Syfy is owned by the same company that owns NBC, which may explain the presence of "Today" show stars Lauer and Roker.
None of the stars was here filming last weekend.
I suppose we may have to wait until close to 9 p.m. July 30 to find out if "Sharknado 2" was partially filmed here. That's when it is scheduled to fly into TV screens on Syfy.