Last September Reno 911! director Robert Ben Garant signed on to helm a movie reboot of the classic 1990s television series Baywatch. Yesterday Ben Garant announced he’d found an actor to play David Hasselhoff’s character, Mitch Buchannon. The director told The Wrap that although a contract has yet to be signed, Saturday Night Live‘s Bill Hader is going to attempt to fill The Hoff’s shoes. But late this afternoon Paramount, the studio behind the film, claimed that the movie’s lead role was still up for grabs—and that screenwriters haven’t even finished the script. Err, what’s going on here?
Ben Garant is currently at Sundance promoting Hell Baby, a film he that he and frequent collaborator Thomas Lennon co-directed. That’s where Wrap reporters grilled him about Baywatch. Perhaps the director’s excitement led him to overshare a little and leak some news that he wasn’t yet supposed to (what with all the legalities involved in negotiations and contracts and blah, blah, blah). Or maybe he’s just confused—it wouldn’t be the first time someone linked to the project provided the media with some mildly bewildering soundbite (“It’s not based on the show in any way, though there are a couple of winks at the show… I don’t know anything about the show. I didn’t watch it in preparation for writing this,” said Baywatch screenwriter Peter Tolan in an interview last fall).
At least Paramount and Ben Garant seem to be on the same page where the script is concerned, that is, they’re both aware that there isn’t one—not a completed one, anyway. But while the studio grumbles that they couldn’t possibly cast a Hasselhoff with an incomplete script, Ben Garant (an optimist, I’d guess) says it isn’t a problem—not even for Paramount. “They’re so excited they made us shoot a trailer and the script isn’t even done,” he claimed.
So there’s no actor and there’s no script… but there is a trailer? I can’t wait to see this movie.
Update: Bill Hader’s rep (who also represents Robert Ben Garant) has said that the actor has not signed on to the “lifeguards busting a meth lab disguised as an oil rig” movie. The search continues!