Movies

‘Baywatch’ and Dwayne Johnson: A match made in low-culture heaven?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he’s set to star in a “Baywatch” movie.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is ready to take back the beach. The WWE wrestler turned Hollywood actor has his eyes on an upcoming movie adaptation of “Baywatch,” the schlocky 1990s TV series about a team of lifeguards keeping the shores of SoCal safe from sharks, criminals and even the occasional nuclear bomb.

Johnson seemed to confirm the news on his social media accounts after the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday reported that Paramount is developing the movie with Johnson “loosely attached” to star.

The muscle-bound action hero posted an Instagram photo of him posing in swim trunks on a jet ski, accompanied by the caption, “‘This is my beach ... !’ Rumors are true … we’re making #BAYWATCH the movie. Edgy, raunchy and hopefully, funny as all hell. Cue slo mo running on the beach …"

Paramount has been looking to make a “Baywatch” movie for several years. Justin Malen (“Bad Teacher 2") is writing the latest draft of the script, and the studio is reportedly interested in broad-comedy directors, in particular, the duo of Sean Anders and John Morris, who co-wrote “We’re the Millers” and the upcoming “Dumb and Dumber To.” Bringing Johnson aboard could help resuscitate the project (or, in the phrase Johnson added to his tweet, "#WhoNeedsMouthToMouth”).

From Johnson’s brief description, it sounds as though Paramount’s latest crack at “Baywatch” would go the “22 Jump Street” route: mining mainstream audiences’ familiarity with a popular guilty-pleasure TV show while also skewering its many absurdities and titillations. (“Baywatch” was a huge international hit, running for 11 seasons and spawning a spinoff series and a reunion TV movie.)

Not unlike “Jump Street’s” Channing Tatum, Johnson is a beefcake with a sense of humor, a guy who has some credibility cracking both skulls and jokes. While his latest theatrical outing, the Brett Ratner-directed “Hercules,” was a box-office disappointment over the summer, Johnson has often thrived when not asked to carry an entire film on his shoulders, as in the “Fast & Furious” series.

In other words, with the right beach-patrol crew behind him, Johnson might just make some waves.

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