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Donald Trump almost played U.S. president on ‘Sharknado’

President Donald Trump turned down a role as

President Donald Trump turned down a role as president in 2015's "Sharknado 3." Credit: AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

He is the president, and almost played one on TV: Two years before he was inaugurated, Donald Trump was approached to play the U.S. president in 2015’s “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!”

The Hollywood Reporter, in an article on what it called C-lister cameos in the Syfy channel’s campy TV-movie franchise, said that after negotiations failed with former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the production company The Asylum went to real-estate developer and reality-TV star Trump.

“The Donald said yes,” The Asylum co-founder David Latt told the magazine in a story published Wednesday. “He was thrilled to be asked.” Trump has done cameos, almost exclusively playing himself, in numerous films and TV shows dating back to “The Jeffersons” in 1981, according to his IMDb listing.

“We got pretty far,” said actor and casting director Gerald Webb, who worked on the first three in the 2013-2017 series, which continues with “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” on Sunday. “It was serious talks.”

But after no response for weeks from Trump’s representatives, the producers were contacted by his attorney Michael D. Cohen. “Donald’s thinking about making a legitimate run for the presidency, so we’ll get back to you,” Cohen said, according to Latt. “This might not be the best time.”

When Syfy later announced that billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban was given the role instead, however, The Asylum “immediately heard from Trump’s lawyer,” Latt recalled. “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!’”

In response to a Hollywood Reporter inquiry, Cohen told the magazine he had had dinner with franchise star Ian Ziering to discuss Trump’s possible casting, but did not recall any heated communication.

“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.”

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