Paramount sets new writer/director for film

Hoping to add some giggle to the jiggle, Paramount Pictures has set Jeremy Garelick to rewrite and direct “Baywatch,” a bigscreen comedy based on the syndicated series about buff lifeguards who patrol a beach in California.

The film marks Garelick’s directing debut. The scribe, who most recently did an uncredited rewrite of “The Hangover” with Todd Phillips, has written “Murray at Large” for Phillips to produce and possibly direct at Warner Bros., and also scripted “The Insane Laws” at Columbia.

While new Paramount Film Group prexy Adam Goodman is sorting through the studio’s development, “Baywatch” shapes up as a good bet to get made. It’s one of the projects Goodman brought over from when he was an exec at DreamWorks — and “Baywatch” has the kind of built-in global brand awareness that studios look for in potential franchises.

The pic will be co-financed by the studio and Cold Spring Pictures, the financing arm of the Montecito Picture Co. Contrafilm’s Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing with “Baywatch” creators Michael Berk, Doug Schwartz, Greg Bonann and Michelle Berk. Montecito’s Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollock, Jeff Clifford and Joe Medjuck are also involved in producing capacities.

DreamWorks paid seven figures for remake rights in 2005 and got a script by Jay Scherick and David Ronn that was heavy on action. Garelick was sent the script do a punch-up. Though he never saw the original TV show and its well-rounded cast, he saw an opportunity to turn it into broad comedy.

“It felt like the template to do a movie that was similar to ‘Stripes’ and ‘Police Academy,’ the comedies I loved growing up,” Garelick said. “Rather than trying to pitch the tone, I figured it would be easier to write the first act to convey who these characters were,” Garelick said.

Some 37 pages later, Garelick has landed the job. The script now focuses on two unlikely lifeguard candidates trying to catch on alongside the buff bodies that will be as abundant in the film as they were in the TV series.

Garelick is repped by UTA and manager Allen Fischer.

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