Zac Efron is set to run with Dwayne Johnson, probably in slow motion, in Baywatch, the big-screen remake of the 1990s TV series that did for California lifeguards what ER did for Chicago doctors.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals Johnson will play a serious by-the-numbers lifeguard (e.g. no running, shouting or piddling in the shallows when he’s around) who teams up with Efron’s loose canon renegade (swim where you like, who cares about sharks? What flags? Etc.) to protect the beach from an oil tycoon’s destructive influence. The buddy cop vibe suggests the filmmakers will hope to Jump Street a comedy franchise, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s hugely successful comic capers described as a “tonal touchstone.”
The original series, which aired in 148 countries and made stars of Pamela Anderson, Yasmeen Bleeth and ensured humanity would eternally be hassled by the Hoff, was often more ironically appreciated than intentionally humorous, so scriptwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift will doubtless have plenty of work to do. The project recently signed Seth Gordon as director. Gordon broke out with indie documentary hit The King of Kong, before graduating to broad studio fare such as Four Christmasses, Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief.
If the seas are fare and the waves are kind, Baywatch will wash ashore in 2017.