Bay-what?! The original Baywatch producers Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz revealed several secrets of the set during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, including that Leonardo DiCaprio almost played David Hasselhoff’s son on the hit ‘90s show.
The Oscar-winning actor was only 15 years old when he auditioned for the part of Mitch Buchannon’s son Hobie. “We actually had DiCaprio ready to be cast,” Berk said. “But David thought he was too old to play his son.”
Hasselhoff, who was in his late thirties when filming began, wanted a younger actor for the role. “David thought it would make him look older,” Schwartz said of DiCaprio’s casting. “He had a lot of concerns of that type.” The part eventually went to Brandon Call in season 1, and then he was replaced by Jeremy Jackson for eight seasons.
The Revenant star isn’t the only one who Hasselhoff tried to nix — he also fought back against Pamela Anderson’s casting when she joined the show in the second season. “David said, ‘I don’t want a girl that’s been in Playboy,” Berk said of Anderson’s centerfold past. “He said, ‘Children watch this show.’”
Schwartz had a slightly different recollection of the conversation. “She had these enormous breasts and David thought he would be upstaged by everyone looking at her breasts. Which is what happened,” he told THR.
In the end, Anderson’s risqué behavior wasn’t a bad thing for the beach drama. Her 1995 sex tape with then-husband Tommy Lee gave the show’s ratings a major boost. “They came to us and said, ‘What are we gonna do? Should we leave her out of the next episode?’” Berk said. “We had to figure out how to deal with it. So we just kept going.” Schwartz added, “The ratings doubled. That was a big thing for Baywatch.”
The show is getting a big-screen reboot starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and Priyanka Chopra. Anderson and Hasselhoff will also make cameos in the film, which is set to be released in 2017.