That Time Baywatch Said No To Leonardo DiCaprio

Baywatch David Hasselhoff

Baywatch ran for an impressive eleven seasons from 1989 - 2001, so there were plenty of characters attractively running through the surf in bathing suits over the years. The character of Hobie Buchannon - son of David Hasselhoff's Mitch Buchannon - stuck around for nine seasons, and it just so happens that he was almost played by current movie star Leondard DiCaprio. He would have had a very different time in the 90s if Hasselhoff hadn't considered DiCaprio too old for the part.

Leonard DiCaprio made it almost to the very end of the casting process before David Hasselhoff made his objection, according to THR. Hasselhoff was evidently convinced that 15-year old DiCaprio was too old to play Hobie because it would make him appear older. As Hasselhoff was the star and would later be given an executive producer role due to his behind-the-scenes work for the show over the years, he had a lot of pull for the direction of the show. Unfortunately for the young DiCaprio, Hasselhoff wasn't pulling in his direction.

The kid who ended up getting the part of Hobie for Season 1 wasn't actually much younger than DiCaprio. Brandon Call was 13 when he made his Baywatch debut in 1989. A couple of years can make a big difference in how old a kid looks, but 13 really wasn't too big a change from 15. Call was recast for Season 2 and replaced by Jeremy Jackson, who would have been 11 when he debuted on Baywatch. Jackson would remain on the show until Season 9 in 1999, after which Baywatch moved the action from Los Angeles to Hawaii. He has the second highest episode count after David Hasselhoff.

Basically, Leonardo DiCaprio is pretty lucky that David Hasselhoff deemed him too old for Hobie. If he had taken on the same tenure as Jeremy Jackson for Baywatch, he likely would have missed out on the movies that made him a household name. He gained heartthrob status in 1996 at the age of 22 when he took on the role of Romeo in Romeo + Juliet opposite Claire Danes as Juliet, and then he landed the role that would immortalize him as a romantic leading man who totally wouldn't have died if his leading lady had just shared the floating door. In 1997, Titanic really launched him into becoming the star that he is today, and he never would have gotten to play Jack and reduce viewers to tears if he had been wearing a bathing suit on Baywatch. He even finally got his Oscar in 2016.

To compare, Jeremy Jackson hasn't done much since Baywatch. He returned to play Hobie once more for the TV movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding in 2003, then played a bizarre character in the even more bizarre boy band thriller Ring of Darkness. He's had a mostly low profile since.

Leonardo DiCaprio should be counting his lucky stars that David Hasselhoff kicked him off of Baywatch. He's been busy over the years, whereas the Baywatch crew has mostly tackled small projects. To see what the cast has been up to since the end of Baywatch, take a look at our breakdown of what they're up to nowadays.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).