During summer, kids are out of school and it is the perfect time to introduce them to the world of theater. It is probably why we see many PG-13 blockbusters hitting the theaters then. Baywatch the movie though tossed this approach to the wind. The star, Dwayne Johnson convinced Paramount Pictures to make the film an R-rated comedy. Why? He felt that this would have them produce a better version of the movie. It didn’t hurt that this fits better with his personal tastes.
Earlier today, I caught up with him during the Baywatch press day in Miami, Florida and I turned the conversation to the R-rating. Dwayne Johnson has made movies for all demographics so I asked about his personal preferences and whether the film was looking for a PG-13 rating.
He acknowledged that when he was first considering the feature, the project was targeting younger audiences but he had convinced them to go a different way, he said:
“When Paramount first came to me with the movie, there was a talk of making it PG-13. That was about 5 years ago. We discussed the issue of rating. It is a ballsy move to be R-rated in summer when you want to make sales but we also thought the better version is R-rated.”
Apparently, that was not the only change that he inspired. When he came into Baywatch as the star, he wanted to change expectations about the film. As he puts it, to “flip models that have worked in the past”, he explained:
“Let’s go hard Rated-R; if the character that was our villain was written for a man, let’s write it for a woman and bring in Priyanka. And also, I like the idea of making a movie that could be R-rated with my very dirty, raunchy humor. To be able to do this is great! That, after Moana. Fantastic!”
I cannot fail to point out that the idea of making a classic TV show R-rated is not new but given the success of, for instance, the 21 Jump Street movies, it made sense for this to be a natural path for Baywatch to follow. It will definitely not be the last comedy to take that direction.