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Bo Derek hates running and loves fish -- what the hell is she doing in 'Sharknado 3'?

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Gene Page/Syfy

If there’s one thing we know Bo Derek can do, it’s run. And given that the actress achieved instant sex-symbol status for her beach jog in the 1979 movie 10, you might assume she enjoyed sprinting around the set of Sharknado 3, which screens on SyFy, July 22. Wrong!

“I know I’m known for running,” Derek says. “I came on the scene running in slow-motion. But I’m one of those people who hates to run.”

The actress plays the mother of Tara Reid in the franchise’s third chapter, in which the titular meteorological event wreaks havoc along the entire East Coast. Also joining returning regulars Reid and Ian Ziering are newbies David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, and Mark Cuban, who plays the president. Derek has experience in the maritime-monster genre, having starred alongside Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling in 1977’s Orca, about a killer whale.

“I reminded the director [of Sharknado 3] about that when we first spoke,” she says. “It was before computer-generated sharks and whales, so I actually had a rubber one, a great big latex creature that came up on a track. I had my leg bitten off!” 

But Derek’s casting is also deeply ironic: The actress is actually a longtime animal conservationist and campaigner against products made from shark fins. “I happened to be in the Galápagos Islands working with the conservationists at WildAid when I got the call,” she laughs. “I thought they would be horrified but they said, ‘We love it!’  It doesn’t conflict with marine conservation, somehow.”