Memorial Day weekend in here with two big releases this weekend, including the new film adaptation of “Baywatch”. Based on the popular 1989 television series, “Baywatch” will compete with “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tails” for supremacy this holiday weekend and just as I did for the “Pirates” film I took a look at ten fun fact about “Baywatch” you should know.
For this list I looked at fun little tidbits that moviegoers may be interested to know about the new film. These facts are not in any specific order, but were all interesting notes I felt viewers would be interested to know about the year’s biggest high-profile comedy film as it hits theaters.
Be sure to look for my review and check out the film, which hit theaters on Thursday, May 25…why the strange release day? well read on an you’ll find out why.
10. Wrestling legacy
Dwayne Johnson plays the lead role in the film, but he’s far from the first professional wrestler to play a part in the “Baywatch” franchise. During the television show’s run no less than nine professional wrestlers appeared on the program. Jorge Gonzales, Jimmy Hart, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Leon White, Torrie Wilson, Shawn Michaels, and Kevin Sullivan were all guest stars at one point or another. While it was not confirmed some believe Johnson was cast at least in-part to pay tribute to the tradition of wrestlers being involved in the show. I personally doubt this because Johnson was heavily involved in the movie, but more on that later.
9. Matt Brody
Zac Efron stars in the film as Baywatch new recruit Matt Brody, and if his name sounds familiar there’s a good reason, other than the fact that he was a character in the television series. The character’s name is actually a tribute to two famed characters from another beach-themed film, “Jaws”. In that film Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider play Matt Hooper and Martin Brody with their first and last names respectively being merged to name this character for the “Baywatch” television show and is a main character of the “Baywatch” movie.
8. Bollywood flair
The film’s antagonist, Victoria Leeds, will be portrayed by Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who will make her Hollywood live-action debut in “Baywatch”. An India native, Chopra said she was a big fan of the show when she was growing up and was excited to be cast in the reboot/remake. The former Miss World winner said she was actually cast for a male role. She revealed in an interview with “W Magazine” that her part was originally written as a male antagonist and she was slated to be one of the lifeguards but the interview with director Seth Gordon went so well the part was rewritten for a woman and Chopra was cast in the part.
David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson were by far the most iconic stars of the original “Baywatch” television show and fans can rejoice knowing that both are expected to make cameos in 2017 film. Hasselhoff, who portrayed Dwayne Johnson’s character Mitch Buchannon in the original show, will appear as “The Mentor” and Anderson will play the mother of her character from the original show, C.J. Parker, who in the film is portrayed by Kelly Rohrbach. Rumors have also circled that both Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber have cameos in the movie although these were not confirmed on the cast list and may have been saved for filmgoers to enjoy as surprise appearances in the movie. Former NFL running back Arian Foster will also make a cameo appearance in the film.
6. A “reboot” approach with a tribute feel
The “Baywatch” movie will involve the same characters from the television show and will portray Baywatch as a brand. The iconic characters of Mitch Buchannon, C.J. Parker, Summer Quinn, Matt Brody, and Stephanie Holden will be in the film. Several elements of the show will also be incorporated into the narrative, such as the romantic relationship between Mitch and Stephanie. However the film will have a more modern flavor and a more “meta” approach with self-referential jokes, especially concerning the televisions show’s famed “slow-motion” segments. The film is meant to be both a tribute and a reboot of the “Baywatch” brand, with the concept of revitalizing the aging brand also being another self-referential subplot in the film leading to the squad bringing Matt Brody on board. Fans are encourages to look for even more references to the original television show as they watch the film.
5. Heavy competition for Summer
Alexandra Daddario will play the film’s leading female protagonist Summer Quinn, Matt Brody’s love interest, but she had to endure heavy competition to land the role. The blue-eyed beauty landed the part after Ashley Benson, Nina Dobrev, Alexandra Shipp, Shelley Hennig, Bianca Santos, and Denyse Tontz were also considered for the part. It was Dwayne Johnson who announced in December of 2015 that Daddario landed the role, which is a neat little coincidence because Johnson and Daddario co-starred in “San Andreas”, with Johnson playing the father of Dadario’s character in that film.
4. Hands on Johnson
With that said, Dwayne Johnson is doing more than just starring in this film, he was also a leader behind the scenes. Johnson is a producer for the film and his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, is involved with the movie. This is Johnson’s fourth production credit for a film. Johnson also had a huge hand in revealing the cast, utilizing social media to announce many of the stars involved when the time was right and releasing photos and snippets from the set as filming took place. Johnson has taken on similar roles for other upcoming productions, releasing details of both “Jumanji 2” and the videogame-based “Rampage” film on Instagram.
3. The classic red suits
The red lifeguard suits were no easy matter for the filmmakers. The iconic suits will be included in the movie but numerous redesigns were needed to get the perfect look. Modern touches were examined, but in the end production decided to stick with a simple, classic look. The actresses were actually glued into their swimsuits to prevent any unwanted exposure should they slip out of their tight-fitted uniforms and the suits were designed specially for each of the female characters. Viewers will notice that each of the female lifeguards wear different designs that are more fitting of their individual character personalities, one example being Stephanie who wears a long-sleeved suit due to her more conservative nature.
2. Strategic release date
The film has seen its release shift very slightly in an attempt to avoid direct competition during the busy month of May 2017. The movie was originally set to be released on May 19 of this year after replacing a proposed sequel to the critical and box office failure “Terminator: Gensys”, however Paramount moved the film back to May 26 to avoid competing with Ridley Scott’s sci-fi sequel “Alien: Covenant”. The film still has heavy competition for its release weekend however, holding the heavily coveted Memorial Day weekend slot alongside Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”. This didn’t stop Paramount from trying to cash in however. Unlike most film releases on Fridays with Thursday preview showings, “Baywatch” will be officially wide-released on Thursday, May 25 to avoid direct competition from the “Pirates” movie for that one day while “Pirates” will only have Thursday night preview shows. Paramount is hoping this may give the film an advantage at the box office and seeing as many take the Memorial Day weekend off, it’s not a stretch to assume that moviegoers may have the opportunity to enjoy the film a day early.
1. Not the first “Baywatch” movie
While this will be the first theatrical “Baywatch” film, it will not be the first “Baywatch” movie ever. In fact there have been three direct-to-video films based on the classic television show, 1995’s “Baywatch the Movie: Forbidden Paradise”, 1998’s “Baywatch: White Thunder at Glacier Bay”, and the 2003 made-for TV film “Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding” which was a reunion movie that brought back the original cast. All three of these films were canon to the original televisions series, whereas this new film will not be connected to the show and will be it’s own interpretation of the property. The 2017 “Baywatch” film will be the first feature-length “Baywatch” production since 2003 and many hope it will be a revitalization of an iconic property for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy.