Cody Linley poses between two movie posters that he was part of at Cathryn Sullivan'’s Acting For Film Studio in Lewisville where he gave acting classes this week.

Cody Linley poses between two movie posters that he was part of at Cathryn Sullivan'’s Acting For Film Studio in Lewisville where he gave acting classes this week.

David Woo/Staff Photographer

Cody Linley has amassed quite the acting résumé in his 27 years, but apparently he's not 100 percent up on his pop culture. 

Linley was Miley Cyrus' main squeeze for four seasons on the Disney Channel's Hannah Montana. He was a Final Four contestant as Julianne Hough's partner on the seventh season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars. He's also appeared on several other TV shows, including CBS' Walker, Texas Ranger

That's not counting movie roles and talk show appearances. The Lewisville resident knows his way around the entertainment industry. 

So it's surprising that when a plum role for Syfy's Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens dropped out of the sky like an angry shark, Linley's reaction was ... Huh? 

Cody Linely as Matt Shepard, Imani Hakim as Gabrielle, Masiela Lusha as Gemini, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard give it that slow-motion action str

Cody Linely as Matt Shepard, Imani Hakim as Gabrielle, Masiela Lusha as Gemini, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard give it that slow-motion action str

Syfy/Patrick Wymore/Syfy

"I hadn't even heard of Sharknado before then," he said. "I guess I'd been living under a rock."

Linley knew he had to catch up. He binge-watched the other three Sharknadoes, "thought they were silly and looked kind of fun," so he signed on. 

Linley joined the Sharknado cast a few months ago. Ahead of the July 31 premiere, Linley was in Lewisville this week teaching classes at Acting for Film, the acting studio of his mom, Cathryn Sullivan. 

In Sharknado 4, Linley plays Matt Shepard, a young Air Force pilot who is the son of Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering), the franchise's protagonist who's made a living out of carving up hundreds of airborne sharks during previous Sharknadoes. 

This sequel takes place five years after the East Coast was ravaged in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No. Just when everything appears to be bliss, sharks and tornadoes get together, create chaos and the Shepard family springs into action. That's where Linley comes in. 

"It's actually my first adult role because every other project I've done I'm still in high school," Linley said. 

Linley discussed flying sharks, Miley, his career and other topics in a recent phone interview. Here are highlights from the conversation.

Masiela Lusha as Gemini, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard, Imani Hakim as Gabrielle, Cody Linley as Matt Shepard will lead the fight against flying sharks.

Masiela Lusha as Gemini, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard, Imani Hakim as Gabrielle, Cody Linley as Matt Shepard will lead the fight against flying sharks.

Syfy/Tyler Golden/Syfy

GuideLive: Are you the next Sharknado action hero? 

Linley: "Somebody else mentioned that in another interview. I'm not opposed to it because I'm sure there will be a Sharknado 5. I can't give anything away ... because there's so many surprises and a lot of people die. I want it to be surprising because that's the fun for the audience. Sharknado fans will be pleased because there's a lot of crazy twists and turns, lots of actions and thrills and some comedy and romance. I think it's got everything for the whole family."

Is your Hannah Montana character anything like your Sharknado character? 

"Yes, totally. Jake Ryan and Matt Shepard are very much alike. The wardrobe even looks the same. People who've seen me on that, or are fans of the show will be excited to see Jake Ryan grown up. I can't give anything away, but there's certain things that happen in the movie that happened on [Hannah Montana] that are very similar. The 10-year anniversary of Hannah Montana just came up [in March], so it was all serendipitous in a way that it fell into place. It was just kind of nostalgic, as well as a rebirth and coming back and doing some new stuff, but also paying tribute to the past."

Is fighting sharks any different than fighting zombies? 

"It's a lot harder fighting sharks because they're coming all directions. They're sharks. You gotta use weapons. Zombies, not necessarily, well, at least not on Hannah Montana, probably because it was Disney.

Do you still pal around with Miley Cyrus? 

"I don't really. I've seen her, of course, on TV and music -- because she's everywhere. I'm proud of her. Hopefully, we'll get to reunite at some point. We kind of lost touch, and that's just kind of how it goes. I'm all supportive of her because I know she supports a lot of cool causes."

So, what was it like when you were on Hannah Montana and Dancing With the Stars AND attending regular high school? 

"It's kind of cliché, but I really did get to live the best of both worlds. I had a normal life, got to play sports, go to the football games, hang out and take it easy, be with my family. Then, I don't want to say glamorous, but I got to live the superstar lifestyle -- red carpet, running around and doing something a little extraordinary. There were times when I'd sign autographs in the cafeteria at breakfast. To me, I'm just thinking I'm going to get some doughnuts. I just see myself as a normal guy. But they thought, 'Oh my God, you're Jake Ryan. Holy crap! Can't believe you go to school here. Why are you here?' 'Dude, I live here. This is where I was born.' And that was kind of odd."

Do you believe Sharknado is a path toward action hero status? 

"I would love to do another action movie or something where I get to play with guns again. It brought out a different part of me. Opportunities are coming. I don't know what's going to pan out."

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