Alexandra Daddario: Baywatch babes, bouncing boobs and running in slow motion

Life's a beach for Baywatch's new recruit

Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to step into the light – but those people wouldn’t get a job on Baywatch. Yes, the impossibly popular beach-set soap opera that perved on a bunch of semi-clad lifeguards for much of the 1990s is back.

Alexandra Daddario plays Summer Quinn in the reboot [pictured above, second from the left]. She knows she had some iconic red swimsuits to squeeze into. “It’s a huge honour really,” she says. “To be cast in something where it’s like – wow you’re hot enough to put on a Baywatch swimsuit! It’s pretty cool for me. It’s flattering.

“I worked out a ton, I worked out really hard to be able to fit into a swimsuit and look as good as I possibly could because that was part of my job. But I try not to worry about that stuff too much, especially now as I get older,” the 31-year-old says. “If I was younger it may be different but I think I’ve learned how to embrace what I see as my flaws and be comfortable in my own body.”

The TV series was famous for prioritising glamour over gritty realism, with more silicone in some of the cast than in the sand on the beach. But in 2017, times have changed, right… Did Daddario make sure that apart from looking good in a swimsuit there was a character inside it?

“Of course,” she says. “Summer is an incredibly hard-working, tough girl who doesn’t put up with shit. She takes her job incredibly seriously and works incredibly hard to become a lifeguard. I approach every script, whether it’s something like Baywatch or a more serious drama, from the same place. I find the character and what I want to do with her.”

This movie takes the things that made Baywatch iconic to those who didn’t watch Baywatch – if that makes any sense

Given that for a time Baywatch was the most-watched show in the world, remarkably Daddario managed to avoid seeing it. “I don’t know if it’s my generation or whatever television service my parents had, it just wasn’t one of these shows that ever popped up on TV,” she explains. “But it was so famous. I still grew up knowing Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra and David Hasselhoff.

“This movie takes the things that made Baywatch iconic to those who didn’t watch Baywatch – if that makes any sense. You know, ridiculous action, slow-motion running, boobs bouncing on a beach. And it’s not just boobs. For the ladies there are plenty of hot slow-motion men running as well.”

Do you have to run differently when filming slow-motion running scenes?

“Not really. You just try not to move your body too much but other than that you just run. The point is to get this sexy, determined look on your face.”

If you have not been convinced so far that the new Baywatch is going to be great, consider the talent involved. Daddario is a veteran of True Detective, American Horror Story and the Percy Jackson films, and is paired opposite Hollywood heartthrob number one, Zac Efron. Even though it’s a nigh impossible task to replace a legend as large as The Hoff, the film recruited Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – officially the biggest film star in the world, in more ways than one. Does he have the biggest ego to match?

“No, not at all! And I think that’s one of the reasons he is the biggest movie star in the world. Doing what he’s done is incredibly difficult yet he’s humble, he cares about other people and he lifts other people up. He’s grateful and kind and hard-working and he preaches that to his fans. Being a movie star, a lot of that is about likability – and you can’t fake that kind of likability. He really is that great a guy.”

Back in the 1990s newspapers were filled with stories about how a drowning child was rescued using CPR skills beach-goers picked up from an episode of Baywatch the night before. Could this film save lives? “I wouldn’t recommend anyone skip a CPR course and see Baywatch instead but there’s probably some stuff you might pick up,” Daddario says.

It might inspire a new generation of lifeguards. “Right, who run around hitting people over the head with fire extinguishers and chasing them down beaches.”

All in slow motion, naturally.

Baywatch is out now in cinemas

We believe in the right to citizenship.

Which is why the Big Issue Foundation, our charitable arm, helps sellers tackle their social and financial exclusion.

Learn More