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Baywatch Almost Derailed Leonardo DiCaprio's Movie Career

By Brian Gallagher — July 1st, 2016

Next year, the iconic TV series Baywatch makes the transition to the big screen with a new reboot starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. The original series is among the most successful of all time, running for 11 seasons between 1989 and 2001, turning stars Pamela Anderson and the rest of the cast into household names. A new retrospective on the original series reveals quite an interesting revelation, that Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio was almost cast on the show when he was just a teenager.

Before he went on to make Oscar winning blockbusters, Leonardo DiCaprio's career began on the small screen, with roles on the 1990 TV series Parenthood and a recurring arc on Growing Pains. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that, at just 15 years of age, the actor auditioned for the role of Mitch Buchannon's (David Hasselhoff) son, Hobie Buchannon, but David Hasselhoff himself "nixed" the casting. Baywatch's original producer Michael Berk said that DiCaprio was "ready to be cast," but his producing partner Douglas Schwartz reveals why it didn't happen.

"David thought he was too old to play his son. David thought it would make him look older. He had a lot of concerns of that type."

After Leonardo DiCaprio's casting fell apart, 9-year-old Jeremy Jackson won the role. He appeared in 159 episodes between 1991 and 1999, the second-longest run of any cast member on the show, behind David Hasselhoff. Of course, Leonardo DiCaprio turned out just fine without the Baywatch role, earning his first Oscar nomination in 1993 for What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, a role he might not have landed had be been cast in Baywatch. If Leonardo DiCaprio had been cast, and had a run similar to Jeremy Jackson's on the show, he may have also missed out on his iconic role as Jack Dawson in the 1997 record-breaking blockbuster Titanic, which was the highest-grossing movie of all time until it was bested by another James Cameron movie, 2009's Avatar.

This report also reveals that David Hasselhoff also tried to stop the casting of Pamela Anderson. Michael Berk explains that David didn't want a woman who had posed in Playboy on the show, since children tuned in, but Douglas Schwartz has a different theory about why the actor didn't want her on the show. Here's what he had to say below.

"She had these enormous breasts, and David thought he would be upstaged by everyone looking at her breasts. Which is what happened."

Both David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson have come aboard for roles in the Baywatch movie, but it isn't revealed what roles they will play quite yet. They join a cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, Jack Kesy and Jon Bass. Paramount has set Baywatch for release on May 19, 2017, so stay tuned for more updates on the remake.

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