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Aug 10th
07:05 pm
New project: Baywatch  
From THR:
Zac Efron in Talks to Star With Dwayne Johnson in 'Baywatch' Movie (Exclusive)

'Horrible Bosses' director Seth Gordon will be behind the camera for all the slo-mo beach shots.

Zac Efron is suiting up in red bathing trunks and hitting the beach.

Efron is in negotiations to star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Paramount’s Baywatch, the big-screen take on the 1990s television series about California lifeguards.

After years of development, the project seems to finally be ramping up and in recent weeks adding Seth Gordon as director. Efron’s casting sets the movie up for a production start in early 2016, likely in February.

The story centers on a by-the-book and very serious lifeguard (Johnson) who is forced to team up with a young rule-flouting hothead (Efron) in order to save their beach from environmental destruction at the hands of an oil tycoon. Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the most recent draft.

Beau Flynn, collaborating with Johnson for the fourth time, and Ivan Reitman are producing. Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions will also produce in some capacity.

The Baywatch casting is a cresting of a wave of sorts for the actor who, due to his surprising and successful turn opposite Seth Rogen in Neighbors, caused both audiences and industry execs to see him in a new light, beyond the teen heartthrob shadow that followed him. It also has made him a wanted man, with him now working across several studios and practically back to back.

But it’s in comedies that he’s finding real success, due to the rare combo of looks and laughs.

Efron just wrapped production on Fox and Chernin Entertainment’s comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates along with Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. That comes on the heels of him working with Robert De Niro for Lionsgate’s road trip comedy Dirty Grandpa. And at the end of August, Efron will reunite with Rogen and Rose Byrne for Neighbors 2, which shoots in Atlanta. All three movies will be released in 2016.

Also at the end of August Efron has We Are Your Friends, a DJ drama being released by Warner Bros.

Baywatch could continue the comedic swell but take it to the next level by putting him on a more global level. With the Fast & Furious movies and this summer’s San Andreas, Johnson is popular the world over. The original Baywatch, meanwhile, was a 1990s television syndicated hit, watched in 148 countries.

If the right balance is struck, between self-aware humor and telling an actual story with action elements (21 Jump Street is a tonal touchstone for the project, say insiders), a franchise could be born for the players involved when the movie is released in 2017.

This isn't the ideal project imo but it is a fun property with a pre-existing following. Moreover it stars Dwayne Johnson, who is like the most personable star ever.  So it has a lot going for it even though Citizen Kane it ain't.  I hope they make it super campy and fun becuase if it takes itself too seriously than it will suck.  And besides, it gives us plenty of shirtlessness to ogle lol.  /sorry not sorry
28 28 comments Comment
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on August 10th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC)
i like him and the rock teaming up so i hope they make a good movie

to the ppl who want him in more dramas yall better get ppl to go see wayf so studios see he can sell dramas
kleth on August 10th, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
Haha. It's going to be a little bizarre, seeing Zac in a topless movie in which his muscles look puny next to his co-star. The Rock is no Seth Rogen.

But we've got to keep our fingers crossed. This could be a hit, or it could be a real stinker if they don't handle it right.

Zac's plan of not starring in solo movies but co-starring with Names who can help boost the movie or share the blame (Rogen, De Niro, now Johnson) looks like it is paying off.
kleth on August 13th, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC)
"seeing Zac in a topless movie in which his muscles look puny next to his co-star"

One concern has been creeping into my thoughts. Zac is going to imagine himself in many topless beech scenes with The Rock. For the first time, he won't be the impressive muscle guy on screen. My concern is that he may feel that he needs to bulk up as much as he can*. He can never come close to The Rock's massive physique, but he may feel that he needs to minimize the difference as much as he can.

I hope he takes several deep breaths and lets it go. It's not the mass of muscle that matters but the shape. He needs to go for looks rather than mass. If anything, Zac could trim down 5-10 pounds and look even better. And we all know what bulking up does to his face.

* I am probably inspired in these thought by the recent case of Adam DeVine. Faced with the prospect of appearing on screen with Zac Efron, he worked for weeks with a trainer so that he wouldn't totally embarrass himself.

Edited at 2015-08-13 05:01 pm (UTC)
laurenlipkinlip on August 10th, 2015 06:59 pm (UTC)
could be interesting.
kleth on August 10th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
My favorite part of this article:

"The Baywatch casting is a cresting of a wave of sorts for the actor who, due to his surprising and successful turn opposite Seth Rogen in Neighbors, caused both audiences and industry execs to see him in a new light, beyond the teen heartthrob shadow that followed him. It also has made him a wanted man, with him now working across several studios and practically back to back."

This is why I was so happy that Zac had to miss the HSM "reunion" recently.
The Writers Denmusewriter on August 10th, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC)
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this project. Mostly I feel like he's above something like this, but even though I'm not a fan of The Rock, I could see the appeal for Zac of working with him. But I think #objectifyingnotsorry is appropriate and I guess I can't complain about Shirtless Zef...

I also like the line Kleth quoted from the article about him being a wanted man. But it also makes me wonder, if that's true, why would he choose THIS project...

Edited at 2015-08-10 09:25 pm (UTC)
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on August 11th, 2015 01:25 am (UTC)
i actually wonder if he saw the mcconaughey renaissance and was like, hmm maybe shirts off isn't so bad, lol.
Ashley in the Sky with Diamonds: zefronchicken_queen on August 11th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
I will watch the shit out of Zac in Baywatch, omg.
Bee: Zac – Details - plaid - profilejeezbee on August 11th, 2015 01:35 am (UTC)
I'm not going to lie and say I was happy when I saw it because initially it didn't seem like a good project for him to sign on right now. For one, I didn't want him to do another comedy so soon and Baywatch doesn't sound like a project which gets any respect. But after a thinking about it for a bit, I tried to put it all in perspective and I can see several positives as well.

Not too long ago, the situation for Zac didn't look all that bright. Yes, he was doing a few interesting indie movies but realistically he couldn't escape his teen heartthrob past as THR pointed out - at least not as far as mainstream audiences were concerned. He got a few romantic dramas/comedies and small indies and he had enough potential to get studio movies into development but not enough starpower to get them off the ground or get into other, more interesting studio projects. His image followed him around and as shown by that annual likeability index, fair or not, too many people (esp guys) still hated him due to his old projects. While we don't know what's going on behind the scenes, it clearly appeared that there weren't too many people who were willing to take a risk and give him a real chance (he hasn't always helping himself either but that's a different story). And if you add to that his personal problems, it's a surprise he got as far as he did.

He really has to thank Neighbors for turning things around for him. He was able to show to the majority that he's a better actor than his reputation and it finally opened some doors for him. However, in real Hollywood tradition, when they see someone being successful at one thing, they offer then same thing over and over again, ie in Zac's case... bro roles and comedies but still not the adventure/sci-fi/action/etc movies he might want to do. I was hoping he might have paid his dues by now and he could take the next step but I guess he's not entirely there yet.

As much as many of us (me included) want him to do other types of movies already, we really have to thankful for now that he's finally getting real offers again, even if it's not entirely what we (and likely him) want. But Zac is probably happy that after several years of a bit a dry spell, studios are now seriously interested in him again. And it's not like he's playing still playing 17-year-old high schoolers in a teen comedy but he's playing adult characters next to big and respected co-stars and not some no-names or has-beens. All his current movies have big distributors in place and get wide releases. Even WAYF, an original R-rated drama without any other stars, gets a wide summer release. For better or worse, this is an accomplishment not many other young stars can pull off.

Not to talk about the fact that after all his personal setbacks, he's working bascially back to back now. Not only does that have to be satisfying for him but you can only get better when you're actually working too. You're not improving your acting by sitting at home, going to the gym or on vacation. Zac also seems to be doing better personally now that he's working regularly, something we should not underestimate.
Bee: Zac – Leno - b/w - touching hair - smilijeezbee on August 11th, 2015 01:35 am (UTC)
part 2:

Now Baywatch... I know this property is a bit a joke for many and it will further reinforce his image of being a shirtless wonder but at the same time, sometimes embracing your strengths and poking fun at yourself will get you much further than taking yourself too seriously. He's getting in on the joke instead of running away from it. And thankfully because he's a guy and not a woman, it won't prevent people from taking him serious in other roles once he takes them on. Heck even with his shit off. Sure, there are a bunch of idiotic naysayers and a few in the gossip area who will claim otherwise, but eg in Neighbors it hasn't taken away from his performance and notices with critics and majority of writers.

Of course the necessity of making a Baywatch movie in the first place is questionable but you have to admit that the casting is pitch perfect. Zac is a much better fit for this than Magic Mike. And as Cady pointed out, it has a big awareness and cult-following as can be seen by the media coverage. There is already far more excitement and media exposure for this casting than for any other movie Zac has done in a while. We might not all love it but I have the feeling that this movie will appeal to many of his "old fanbase" who loves his muscials and Sparks-esque movies because of the (intentional) cheese and camp factor.

Zac working with Dwayne is also great. They are the perfect combo for this. I'm sure Zac is looking forward it and as kleth pointed out already, Zac doesn't have to sell the movie by himself. And just like with Seth Rogen, they have both their own but different fanbases so that should help with the movie too. Not to talk about the fact that many guys look up to Dwayne (esp action fans) so hopefully some of that rubs off to Zac as well. Also, it appears that this is more an action comedy so that would be at least a small step forward for Zac, too. Plus, I could also see him liking the actual character and it's not about finding love but saving the ocean/beach which likely resonates very well with Zac.

Another thing which is probably very appealing to Zac... the work environment. Idk where they plan on filming it but the original filmed in Hawaii and Dwayne has roots there too, so he might be able to go back. Either way, he gets to be on the beach and in the water for months which he'll love. Normally this should perhaps not be that much a decision criteria but considering his private situation this might also be good for his long-term stability.

Using 21 Jump Street as template for a self-aware comedy is a great approach and the short premise given looks ok to me but Seth Gordon is not anywhere near Lord/Miller, so this is one of my bigger concerns.

All that said, I hope he and his team is getting better at leveraging his successes into new territory and he starts taking on more challenging roles. He should throw in a small indie in between if studios are not yet interested in giving him those chances to show other sides of him. This is not the project I wanted for him from a growth/career POV but I'll get over it if he hopefully give us something different soon and I think this could actually be much more successful than it appears on first glance and if executed well, it could be some cheesy fun. Sorry for the novel.

Edited at 2015-08-11 12:14 pm (UTC)
kleth on August 11th, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC)
No need to apologize. You said everything I was thinking and so saved me the need to write it all out.

I also think this Zac-Rock match-up is perfect. I predict they will have great chemistry. Also perfect with Johnson playing the serious part and Zac the reckless hothead.

This project could also finally silence the guys who are knee-jerk haters because of Zac's earlier image. Of all Zac's movies, this is the one where he will gain the most "rub-off" benefits from his co-star.

I'm not too sorry about Zac accepting this project. Yes, a good drama (without heavy romance) would be ideal. But Zac is still only 27. He won't be ripe for many good roles until he's 30+. So this is a good way to continue altering his image. And this movie is more likely to be a box office success than any drama that Zac might star in, and no matter how dumb a movie is, box office is the bottom line in Hollywood.
Aliciapop86 on August 11th, 2015 11:51 am (UTC)
I was hoping that his next project after Neighbor 2 be either a studio or indie dramedy (something better than WAYF) so when I saw Baywatch on my timeline I was disappointed. I agree with many of Jeezbee points on why Zac would sign on to Baywatch. Baywatch is a pet project for Dwayne Johnson (he is one of the producers) and he has enough clout to pick his co-star. I think Dwayne really wanted him for this movie base on his performance in Neighbors.

Bee: Zac - GQ - In Car 1 (full)jeezbee on August 11th, 2015 05:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, going by Dwayne's latest tweet, they've been trying to work together for a while:

kleth on August 12th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Well, "Happy you found something to work on together again" may not refer to Dwayne and Zac, since it says "together again." When was the first time? And "Been years" could refer to the project, not the desire to pair up with The Hunted Man. Still, I'm glad they found each other. The only downer note was the idea that this could be a franchise. I'm willing to see Zac make this one for the reasons given above, but then Baywatch II, III, etc.? One hit could help, but more of the same could retard his forward progress, however successful the frachise. Remember, Zac has spent years trying to wriggle out of a previous hit franchise.
Aliciapop86 on August 12th, 2015 07:01 pm (UTC)
Zac and Dwayne Johnson were attached to Johnny Quest movie. The project was at WB for several years but the project never got off the ground.

Edited at 2015-08-12 07:02 pm (UTC)
kleth on August 14th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
"Zac and Dwayne Johnson were attached to Johnny Quest movie"

Oops. That project was so ephemeral that I completely forgot it. But did they actually "work together" or were they simply "attached"?
kleth on August 11th, 2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
On a related topic, Michelle Rodriguez was featured last night on Running Wild with Bear Grylls. He obliged her to drink her own urine. He had a couple of sips himself, so there are now at least two people who can say they have drunk MRod's pee.

I'm betting Zac watched this episode, for obvious reasons. I wonder what his reaction was.
Aliciapop86 on August 12th, 2015 10:22 am (UTC)
From Dwayne Johnson instagram


Cool to see the INSANE global reaction to our announcement yesterday for Zac Efron to co-star with me in BAYWATCH. Clearly he's one unattractive sumbitch but he's a great dude who's ready to make something epic. BAYWATCH is the most successful TV property of all time, so I'm fired up to produce it along with my long time producing partner Beau Flynn @flynnpictureco and legendary Ivan Reitman. Director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) has a dope vision and is ready to roll. Over the past few years I've taken careful steps with this franchise cause we want to do it right - big, fun, global, sexy and bad ass mixed in with "This is my beach bitch" kind of RATED R comedy.
countessm3countessm3 on August 12th, 2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
My son approves of this match:

 photo 1525489_10153440923454809_5232453195749459005_n_zpsknxvlqqv.jpg

Hard to believe he's 20 today and only two inches shorter than Dwayne himself.

Now, if only Dwayne will play match maker and introduce Zac to Colton, who will at the least fall in platonic love with each other and then sign up to play Lestat and Louis in the hopeful remake of Interview with the Vampire, since Universal Studios acquired movie rights to The Vampire Chronicles with Kurtzman / Orci producing. And they will do a great job (they=Kurtzman/Orci) or Lestat will hunt them down and kill them as he only likes flattering portraits of himself. I know Zac / Colton will do as great job (Zac needing only to magnify his natural personality to be Lestat and Colton being feminine and beautiful already).

The End.

kleth on August 13th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
Wow. You know what they say, great minds think alike. I have long been casting Zac as Louis in Interview With The Vampire (I see him more as the squeamish Louis than the bullying Lestat). It strains my imagination, but I also can see how he might be able to play Lestat in The Vampire Lestat (where Lestat is the main character rather than the protagonist's tormentor), though its not the kind of role he has played before. Challenging. I guess a lot would depend on the right director.
countessm3countessm3 on August 13th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
A few years ago I said the same thing (I even photoshopped, for my own pleasure, Zac as Louis). On the other hand, I thought Tom Cruise was all wrong for Lestat (so did Anne Rice, whose opinion is obviously more important than mine) but afterwards, we both agreed that Cruise acted the hell outta that part (that proved to me beyond all shadow of a doubt that Cruise is an A star: he played against type and genre). I guess that's why I want to see Zac take a stab at it. Its a role he can definitely cut his teeth on, and if he does it well, it might be the proof of his skills.

That said, he'd make a great Louis too.
kleth on August 14th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
"I thought Tom Cruise was all wrong for Lestat"

And everything else about this movie (though it did look good). Casting two hunk stars like Cruise and Pitt in these roles was a blunder. Maybe Cruise gave it the old college try and acted his ass off, but it didn't work for me, he was still Tom Cruise.

Interview with the Vampire is the greatest vampire novel ever penned. Rice got everything right, characters, action, settings. It could make an exceptional movie, but probably not if it is produced in Hollywood.
countessm3countessm3 on August 15th, 2015 04:28 pm (UTC)
>And everything else about this movie (though it did look good). Casting two hunk stars like Cruise and Pitt in these roles was a blunder. Maybe Cruise gave it the old college try and acted his ass off, but it didn't work for me, he was still Tom Cruise.

If you understand the historical development of the vampire, it's not that surprising. Vampires have been around in one form or another since the beginning of time, but Bram Stoker's Dracula revolutionized the vampire. Stoker and Oscar Wilde were in love with the same woman, and she ultimately chose Wilde to marry. Consequently, Stoker wrote Dracula as a not-so-flattering portrait of his rival, which is why Dracula is bisexual ("I meant him (Jonathan Harker" for me!). Of course, the decadent Victorian Dracula followed on the heels of the Romantic Vampire, in the person of Polidori's "The Vampyre". The character of Lord Ruthven,(the vampire) was inspired by Polidori's relationship as physician to Lord Byron (he wrote it that same wet summer that the Shelleys and Byron were sequestered at the house in Vienna, and Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein and Byron wrote "A Fragment", an incomplete vampire tale. Needless to say, Byron was incensed at the unflattering portrait of himself). Of course, Byron was also bisexual and even had "unnatural relations" with his half-sister, Augusta.

Now Rice is writing on the heels of these authors, and is very familiar with the history, so she is creating a Byronic hero in the person of Lestat and a modern vampire in the person of Louis (this is her addition to vampire history, imho.) The Byronic hero is an anti-hero, "mad, bad and dangerous to know" but exceedingly handsome, charming, intelligent and talented (now you see why I can see Zac as Lestat). I believe Coleridge made the connection between this hero and Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost (again, Byron was not flattered by the comparison). Louis, as mother-figure, as "the bottom" so to speak in a homoerotic vampire relationship, has to be worthy of such a man's admiration. We can't have some ugly, hairy, troll tromping around after someone as handsome, brilliant and evil as Lestat. In my opinion, the film makers of Interview with the Vampire were drawing on 18th and 19th century Decadence and on the Romantic and the Victorian trope of vampires (which I have explained) to make their movie.

What they minimized was the 20th century philosophy that cuts through the novel (which includes overtures to Kant and Existentialist thought) and is Rice's true "creation" (the modern agnostic, alienated vampire at war with his soul).

I loved the movie for its historical poignancy, but this is why I think there's so much opportunity for new film.
kleth on August 15th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, all true. But I think your teaching assignment is showing.

countessm3countessm3 on August 13th, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC)
BTW - I'm teaching Comp 102 on Monsters this semester, and I'm showing Interview with the Vampire (since reading a 300+ book is apparently asking students too much these days) and making students read a shit-ton of Queer Vampire theory (rubs hands together wickedly).

I'm also re-reading the book, and I think if they remake the movie (would be wonderful if Zac could be in a trilogy) they have a real opportunity here to make it more than just another gay/bisexual vampire film. Rice's book is nuanced and filled with existential, philosophical thought, which the previous film - though totally awesome - minimized. I CAN see Zac doing a philosophical film, and Interview would be great chance to sink his teeth into it (okay, I really need to stop these puns).
countessm3countessm3 on August 12th, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC)
Forgot to mention Bassnectar's song on the WAYF soundtrack is on youtube:


Not my favorite but Bassnectar has put out some good stuff before.

Also, Colton is trolling The Rock by hashtagging Baywatch. He clearly wants to be between a Rock and a Hard Place (Zac). Har, har, har.
Gillian loves lemoñadé.invisible_cunt on August 13th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
i went to the london wayf premiere and i had low expectations for the film but i gotta say i was very impressed. it's actually really well done, has a cohesive plot and a good amount of drama and an absolutely heartwarming ending that you don't see coming.

it was a bit weird to watch zac get high and drunk a lot knowing he is recovering from his own substance issues so i wonder how that was for him to film. max is such a tease with the shower scenes though it's not fair.

i was also at the after party which was awesome. open bar and canapes, fun photobooth. the vip area was super accessible on an elevated platform and zac's ass was literally in my face at one point. he left after doing photo ops though and mingling with people in the vip area. i imagine it's not good for him to be in that kind of environment with free flowing alcohol but i also heard he had an early train to france in the morning so we didn't get to interact with him. i did end up meeting and speaking ot max who is the sweetest
kleth on August 13th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
Good news about the movie. I think I will still hate it because of the music, but a good story may help to sell it to the seething masses. I don't suppose this production had a very big budget, so hopefully it can earn back its costs and then a modest profit.

Also, thanks for the first-hand testimony that Zac Efron is real and not a figment of our fevered imaginations.