We at infamous horrors had the chance to speak with Craig O’Connell from Shark Week to discuss what he has been involved with working with Discovery on this special they do annually.
AJ: How long have you been involved in Shark Week?
Craig: Oh man, that is a great question. I think my first year was in 2009 and it has been growing ever since then.
AJ: Yeah, this year it was even bigger with all the special guest and legendary icons like William Shatner, Eli Roth, Tiffany Haddish, the guys from Jackass even came aboard which seemed to be a match made in heaven, along with Brad Paisley and JB Smoove.
Craig: Its pretty exciting, the interesting thing with having celebrities on Shark Week we were able to incorporate them into a lot more research. They were swimming with real sharks; you are going to learn what we do on here as well.
AJ: Yeah, I was telling Laure that this was my first Shark Week I tuned into, and I think a lot of that must come from the hype circulating Eli Roth’s film ‘Fin’ and that must be a huge factor in getting new audiences tuning into Shark Week as well.
Craig: That is one of the most important documentaries that Shark Week has ever made, and it makes me proud what Eli did with ‘Fin’ to show people what Sharks are going through “Like this is really happening to these animals and we need to protect them more”
AJ: Yeah, it was most staggering to see the amount of Black-Market activity surrounding the fins of shark was mind boggling and terrifying to watch on screen. I agree that this the most important documentary that Shark Week has made.
Craig: Yeah, I think he must be an important person to have on our side and you can tell after Shark after Dark he is passionate about sharks, he is going to help us a lot protecting sharks.
AJ: Working with the guys from Jackass had to be so much fun and terrifying at the same time on set you must have been like “What the hell is going to happen today?”
Craig: …. Yeah, it was an experience. It was an adventure to work with them and it was great to work outside of my comfort zone with those guys and I am glad I am here to talk about it because man it was crazy.
AJ: Johnny Knoxville seemed really game for this as well and whenever he sent you a video to try you must have been like “What the hell is this going to be now”
Craig: I met Johnny in LA and I looked underneath the chairs to see if it were boobytrapped in any way that they could prank. It did not make it in the film, but I was telling the producer there was a trademark of Steve-O dry heaving and I wanted to get that moment of Steve-O and when Poopies was eating all the fish there was that moment, so I felt accomplished when I got Steve-O to dry heave.
AJ: You also got to work with William Shatner on his episode during Shark Week so how was that like having an icon like in the water with the sharks?
Craig: He was unbelievable, our first interaction with him was at dinner he was so cool about himself, and we did not expect him to so for dinner because usually its just the production crew. The second he walked in he was curious and asked a lot of great questions. It made it a fun film shoot, you could tell he was genuinely curious about Sharks that is how you can make the best stuff knowing someone is curious along the way and learning with you.
AJ: Right, and Laurie last night was telling me he is 90 years old, and that man does not age and had to be inspiring to see him working with sharks for the first time at that age.
Craig: Yeah, we asked him multiple times if he was 90, he’s doing quite well for himself.
AJ: Other than ‘Fin’ I believe that was the most enduring episode of Shark Week because you got to see him conquer his fear of Sharks and that had to be so gratifying in the process of filming.
Craig: This was a great combination of team members and the crew wanted to send a great message surrounding sharks, and it made me incredibly happy to see this documentary come out as well.