The 1990s were a rather fruitful time for TV. There was the rise of sitcoms like Full House, Home Improvement, Seinfeld and Friends and the triumph of dramas like ER, NYPD Blue and Law & Order. Yet no other show managed to work its way into homes around the world quite like Baywatch. After being canceled following season 1 on NBC, the series played successfully in syndication for another ten years in 148 different countries, and was translated into 44 different languages.
So of course there's been talk about making a Baywatch movie for many years now. Jay Sherick and David Ronn (The Smurfs) first took a crack at the idea back in 2005 with an action-focused script for Dreamworks. Jeremy Garelick (The Break-Up) was then hired to rewrite that script into a comedy four years later.
A year after that, the rights moved to Paramount, where Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (The Sitter) worked on a script supposedly in the style of Charlie’s Angels, and the most recent screenwriters to talk about the project were Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!) about a year ago.
For some reason, no one seems to be able to nail down a Baywatch movie, which makes today's news all the more surprising. THR reports the project is again back on at Paramount, and now Dwayne Johnson is loosely attached to star. Justin Malen (Bad Teacher 2) will rewrite the script, and popular comedy writers Sean Anders and John Morris (We're the Millers) are set to direct.
While this may be the farthest a Baywatch movie has ever gotten, the fact that Dwayne Johnson is attached should give one pause. The actor has a full load of projects on his plate, including Shazam, The Janson Directive and Journey 3 and Journey 4. It's not clear where this new film resides on his list of priorities, and if he were to leave, it's possible Baywatch could go back into limbo.
But the fact there's now a director attached does give some hope the movie will finally get made. 21 Jump Street, which was also a TV drama turned into a comedy film, did very well a few years ago, enough to produce a sequel. If writer Malen and directors Anders and Morris utilize a similar tone and Paramount cast some hot and notable talent, the studio could have a hit on their hands.
We'll keep you updated on the latest developments for Baywatch.