'Baywatch' Movie Targets 'Horrible Bosses' Director

Director Seth Gordon - H 2013
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Director Seth Gordon - H 2013

Paramount thinks it's safe to go into the water.

Seth Gordon is negotiations to direct Baywatch, Paramount’s big-screen take on the 1990s television series about California lifeguards.

Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in the project, which has been in development since 2004. Why so long? The trickiest part of nailing the adaptation has been cracking the story and the tone.

The TV series, a major international hit in the syndicated markets, wasn’t actually a comedy, but with stars David Hasselhoff, Pam Anderson, Yasmin Bleeth, Carmen Electra and David Chokachi and plenty of slo-mo of running on the beach, provided plenty of fodder for laughs.

Now after more than a dozen writers, the studio and producers Beau Flynn and Ivan Reitman believe they are very close and hope that Gordon can bring it to the production starting line. (Damian Shannon and Mark Swift wrote the most recent draft.)

Insiders say the project hopes to tap a similar tonal vein as the recent 21 Jump Street movies, which took a beloved show, turned it into an action comedy, and skewered it with a fondness to make it an acclaimed hit franchise.

Gordon has it in him to do that. The director found a way to thread the tonal needle with the original Horrible Bosses and his acclaimed documentary, King of Kong. He is also a director on ABC’s well-regarded comedy The Goldbergs.

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 in order to save their beach from environmental destruction at the hands of an oil tycoon.

A production in early 2016 is being eyed. Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions will also produce in some capacity.

Gordon, whose last movie was Identity Thief with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment and Sloane Offer.