Yes, that was "Airplane!" star Robert Hayes piloting the plane at the start of the film. Ferrante said he considered William Shatner to play alongside the scenes of Fin (Ian Ziering) seeing something out the plane's window, a la Shatner in that "Twilight Zone" episode. But Ferrante thought producers would nix Hayes, so he promised to make no references to the comedy aside from Hayes' presence.
"When I finished the movie and saw the assembled cut, I just smiled," he said. "That's what we want."
And, yes, Wil Wheaton was a passenger on the plane.
As for those other cameos, many came about literally last-minute. To outsiders, filmmaking and TV production may seem like an organized machine but on a low-budget production like "Sharknado 2," chaos reigns and it's often guerilla filmmaking.
They were given two hours to film in Times Square and limited to an 8-person crew. The scene where a woman gets attacked by a shark on a ferry was filmed in one continuous take in the 15 minutes it took to go from Liberty Island back to Manhattan.
"It's kind of a living organism," Ferrante said of the film, which was shot over 18 days in February in New York. With the cameos often coming late, "A lot of the time we were writing for them on the spot."
The scenes with actor Richard Kind at the ballpark was scripted the night before production when Ferrante learned Kind was available.
"It all happened within less than 12 hours," Ferrante said. "Stuff like that was happening every day."
Actor Robert Klein was cast as the mayor of New York the day before (Donald Trump had been considered).
"I said, we can't give Robert Klein one line," Ferrante said, so he threw out lines on set, including the whole "We're New Yorkers, we fight back" sequence that made the film.
Not that everything works out as envisioned. Ferrante had hoped to have two dump trucks play pong with the Statue of Liberty's head, but he only had the budget for one truck for two hours.
As for the film's finale -- Fin proposes to April using a ring he pulls off the finger of a dismembered hand found in a dead shark's mouth --Ferrante said Fin's line, "You're not going to need this anymore," was ad-libbed by actor Ian Ziering.
"That is just so deranged," Ferrante acknowledged of the scene. I'd call ita perfect ending for a movie like "Sharknado 2."