It's been fifteen years since David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Parker Stevenson, and Yasmine Bleeth patrolled the shores of Los Angeles, keeping its residents safe while wearing nothing but their iconic red swimsuits. While the secondary characters on Baywatch changed constantly, the core always remained, which is why the was show so popular. In its heyday, millions of viewers would to tune into the NBC show each week and even now, though it's been out of syndication for some time, the show retains much of its popularity in pop culture.
News about the Baywatch movie adaptation has been slim since Paramount Studios first announced it back in 2009. However, in recent months the Seth Gordon-directed film (The King of Kong, Horrible Bosses) has seen a rise in casting additions. Along with Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas) joining the film as Zac Efron's love interest, Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) also joined the cast recently - though the details of her role remains unknown.
Those concerned that The Rock might be without a female partner in the movie can now rest easy. Dwayne Johnson has now made the announcement via his Instagram feed that lovely Ilfenesh Hadera (Billions, Oldboy) was cast as his love interest, Stephanie Holden - a role previously played by Alexandra Paul, on the original Baywatch TV show.
EXCLUSIVE: Casting my #BAYWATCH love interest wasn't easy (extremely tough job but hey I'm one of the producers;) but we finally found her. For our coveted role of "STEF", she had to be a lot of things: Strong, intelligent, formidable, beautiful and funny. Want to welcome the talented @ilfenator Ilfenesh Hadera to our #BAYWATCH family. She's a 5'11 walkin' smokestack with legs for days. Smart and tougher than new rope.. just the way we like 'em. And seeing as she's playing my love interest - my strong calloused hands are the ONLY HANDS allowed to rub suntan oil on her soft supple skin. You hear that Efron? Step out of line Zac and she'll knock your unattractive candy ass into next week. Mine too. Our dope cast is coming together nicely with a few more big announcements/cool surprises along the way. Let's have some rated R fun.. We are the keepers of "The Bay". We are... #BAYWATCH. #SandSquadUpInThisBitch
Though it may not be filled with wrestling-heavy moves like the Vin Diesel/Rock team-ups in the Fast & Furious movies, based on his comments it wouldn't be a surprise to see Johnson and Hadera solidly team up to bring down some bad guys in Baywatch - in swimsuits, of course.
After the success of turning nineties television show 21 Jump Street from a PG-13 drama into a irreverent R-rated comedy, it was assumed that Baywatch would follow suit, but nothing had ever been confirmed. However, with Freddy vs Jason screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift hired to co-write the screenplay and Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon onboard, it's pretty obvious which direction the studio wants to go in.
Johnson has previously hinted the Baywatch adaptation would be "edgy, raunchy and hopefully, funny as hell" but this is the first time he's mentioned the rating specifically with, "Let's have some rated R fun", - all but confirming everyone's suspicions. It'll be interesting to see if Baywatch can match the unexpected stellar critical and box office performance set by 21 Jump Street, but for now, it seems to have all the right parts in place to do just that.
Baywatch is slated to open in U.S. theaters on May 19th, 2017.
Source: Dwayne Johnson
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