'Baywatch,' Then and Now: See the Film's Stars vs. the TV Favorites

8:30 AM 5/3/2017

by Lexy Perez

On May 26, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron will star in the film adaptation of 'Baywatch,' stepping into the roles once played by David Hasselhoff and David Charvet.

In the early '90s, a series following a team of lifeguards made its debut on NBC. Baywatch featured a cast that included David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Alexandra Paul, Gregory Alan Willliams and Monte Markham. For 11 seasons, viewers watched the team take on various dangers to their beach community, with the show ultimately becoming a pop culture phenomenon.

On May 26, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron star in a film adaptation of the iconic show, offering their own takes on the original characters audience members grew to know and love. 

Below, revisit the original actors who portrayed the iconic Baywatch characters and the new generation of actors taking on their roles.

  • Mitch Buchannon

    David Hasselholf, left, and Dwayne Johnson
    David Hasselholf, left, and Dwayne Johnson
    The Baywatch Company/FOX/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    As the head of the elite team of Los Angeles County lifeguards, Mitch Buchannon took his lifeguard duties seriously. In addition to saving lives, Buchanan also acted as a mentor and parental figure for his younger team. David Hasselhoff played the lifeguard in every season of the television broadcast, as well as in the spinoff series, Baywatch Nights, and the first season of Baywatch Hawaii. In the film adaptation, Dwayne Johnson takes over as the law-abiding lifeguard. Johnson has starred in a variety of feature films such as The Mummy Returns and the Fast and the Furious franchise and stars in the upcoming remake of Jumanji. Hasselhoff is expected to make an appearance in the new Baywatch film. 

  • Summer Quinn

    Nicole Eggert, left, and Alexandra Daddario
    Nicole Eggert, left, and Alexandra Daddario
    All American Television/Photofest; Frank Masi/ Paramount Pictures

    In the television series, Nicole Eggert played the tough, intelligent and skilled surfer Summer Quinn. One of the new recruits on the team, Summer also served as a love interest for Matt Brody. In the film, Alexandra Daddario will take on the role. Daddario is known for her roles in the Percy Jackson film series, Texas Chainsaw 3D and San Andreas, in which she starred alongside Baywatch lead Dwayne Johnson. 

  • Matt Brody

    David Charvet, left, and Zac Efron
    David Charvet, left, and Zac Efron
    NBC/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    In the television series, David Charvet was the rebellious ladies' man known as Matt Brody. Throughout seasons three to five, Brody charmed his way into the hearts of a couple of his team members, Summer and C.J. Parker. In the series, Matt’s main story arc involved him being wrongly accused of sexual harassment. Despite being vindicated, the character eventually disappeared. In the film, Neighbors star Zac Efron portrays the character, whom the writers have revamped as a Olympic gold medalist swimmer. The film’s version of Brody suffers a failing career and image after being on the wrong side of the law. Brody joins the lifeguard team as an act of community service and as a plan to change his "bad boy" image. 

  • Casey Jean "C.J." Parker

    Pamela Anderson, left, and Kelly Rohrbach
    Pamela Anderson, left, and Kelly Rohrbach
    NBC/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    Appearing in seasons three through seven, Pamela Anderson played the team’s blonde bombshell, Casey Jean “C.J.” Parker. Known to gain the attention and affection from various men on the beach, C.J. was dedicated to her role as a lifeguard. Later in the series, the attractive lifeguard left her L.A. job to marry a rock singer in Mexico. When that marriage failed, C.J. she eventually opened her own beach café in Hawaii. Actress and model Kelly Rohrbach plays C.J. in the film adaptation. Rohrbach has had small roles on various TV shows that include Two and a Half Men, Rizzoli & Isles and The New Normal. She was also dubbed as "Rookie of the Year" in the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Anderson is expected to make an appearance in the new film. 

  • Victoria Leeds

    Paramount Pictures

    Unlike the other stars of the film, Quantico star Priyanka Chopra plays an original character, who also is the film’s villain. She told W magazine that the role was originally written for a man. "They were speaking to me about [playing] one of the lifeguards in the film Baywatch and I had a Skype call with [director] Seth Gordon, which was supposed to be 15 minutes and it ended up being two hours," she said. "The character that I'm playing, which is the antagonist in Baywatch, was written for man, and then he just changed it and thought that a woman would be really interesting and I ended up playing Victoria." In a separate interview with Flare magazine, she added: "The best part of working on Baywatch is to be the villain of the movie. I don't think The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson has ever had anyone who's been mean to him. He's a great guy, but Victoria is a bitch."

  • Stephanie Holden

    Alexandra Paul, left, and Ilfenesh Hadera
    Alexandra Paul, left, and Ilfenesh Hadera
    NBC/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    Throughout seasons three to seven, Alexandra Paul played survivor Stephanie Holden. Although suffering a tragic childhood, Stephanie grew to become the administrative commander. She later became the love interest to Hasselhoff’s Buchannon. Despite dying in the latter part of the series, Paul reprised her role in an episode of the spinoff, Baywatch Nights. In the film, Stephanie will be portrayed by Ilfenesh Hadera, who has appeared in TV series such as Billions, Conviction and Chicago Fire

  • Garner Ellerbee/Sgt. Ellerbee

    Gregory Alan Williams, left, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
    Gregory Alan Williams, left, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
    All American Television/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    In the show, Gregory Alan Williams played the lifeguard team’s officer friend, Garner Ellerbee, who was also known as Sgt. Ellerbee. The police officer appeared throughout seasons one through five, and season eight, and appeared in the spinoff. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II portrays the officer in the film adaptation. Mateen is known for his role in the television series The Get Down and is set to appear in DC’s Aquaman

  • Captain Don Thorpe/Captain Thorpe

    Monte Markham, left, and Rob Huebel
    Monte Markham, left, and Rob Huebel
    NBC/Photofest; Paramount Pictures

    During seasons one and two, Monte Markham played senior lifeguard Don Thorpe. His seniority gave him the rank of captain among the team. Rob Huebel portrays the captain in the film iteration. Huebel is an actor, comedian and writer known for his work in the MTV series Human Giant. He also played Dr. Own Maestro in the series Childrens Hospital

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