In one of my Old News columns last summer, I highlighted the long and winding road (or beach trail) that Baywatch, the internationally popular syndicated TV series about California lifeguards, had taken through Hollywood development hell. Five years ago, Variety first reported a writer had been hired to turn the show into a Starsky & Hutch-esque action comedy spoof of itself. Half a decade later, The Hollywood Reporter says the movie is finally inching toward production, with a new writer, a new director, and a major star.
Dwayne Johnson will have the Herculean task of headlining the new Baywatch, and trying to replace David Hasselhoff at the star of the franchise. The former pro wrestler turned action hero and workout guru has all the major qualifications for the part: He’s in terrific shape, prefers movies where he appears shirtless, has tons of experience running in slow-motion, and boasts a good enough singing voice to record his own rendition of the classic theme song. Johnson confirmed the news by posting a photo of himself topless on a wetski to Instagram, which is exactly how I proposed to my wife. (We’re big Baywatch fans.)
This Baywatch will be written by Black Listed scribe Justin Malen, and directed by Sean Anders and John Morris, who wrote last summer’s suprise comedy hit We’re The Millers and the upcoming Horrible Bosses sequel (which Anders also directed). THR doesn’t mention any roles for original cast members like Hasselhoff or Pamela Anderson, but given the comic vibe the project is going for, a few tongue-in-cheek cameos seem like a foregone conclusion at this point. But Johnson, who is an underrated comic presence, and Baywatch seem like a good match. Action, goofy humor, the opportunity to deliver deadpan dialogue while flexing his pectoral muscles; he’ll be in heaven.