You could almost hear the cackling coming out of the production offices of the Baywatch reboot as the Ryan Lochte scandal evolved. The Olympic swimmer, as most of you know, was embroiled in an embarrassing scandal following his events in the most recent Summer Games. Lochte claimed that his group was robbed at gun point, but then he backtracked on his statement and said he might have embellished the extent of the crime. In the process, he became a laughing stock on the global scale, but Lochte's loss is Baywatch's gain, for this specific reason.
Sources close to the Paramount Pictures comedy have told The Wrap that the character Zac Efron is playing in Baywatch, named Matt Brody, is modeled after Ryan Lochte, and not just because he's handsome and not very bright. The trade Web site reports that the plot of the movie will find Efron's character -- an Olympic medalist, just like Lochte, and a world-record holder -- having to serve community service after committing a crime. He's sentenced to the famous beach from the show, where he proceeds to get under the skin of the chief lifeguard, played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
An Olympic swimmer, whose reputation is tarnished, is seeking ways to repair his image after a worldwide criminal debacle? Yep, it sounds like the Baywatch movie will be a fascinating example of life imitating art -- or vice versa.
There's no way that the Baywatch team could have figured out what would happen with Ryan Lochte. The production wrapped earlier this year, long before the Olympic Games in Rio, and the script for Baywatch, penned by Justin Malen and three other credited writers -- would have to have been locked down before Lochte and his teammates got swept up in whatever happened in a Brazilian gas station.
Now we're dying to see a trailer, or a TV spot for Baywatch. The movie doesn't come out until 2017, but with Lochte in the headlines for his alleged gun play and his recent addition to Dancing With the Stars, this is a prime opportunity for Paramount to capitalize on the prescient planning of Zac Efron playing a basic Lochte type.
Baywatch will be lead by The Rock, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and Priyanka Chopra. Directed by Seth Gordon, the remake also finds space for original TV stars David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. Paramount will have it in theaters on May 19, 2017. Now, who will play the Michael Phelps to Efron's Ryan Lochte?