Baywatch director Seth Gordon has revealed Zac Efron’s cocky character in the movie is based on disgraced swimmer Ryan Lochte, even though the actor insists he isn’t.
Zac claims he was inspired by Justin Bieber while creating Matt Brody, but Gordon explains he told the former High School Musical star to study Lochte to perfect his Baywatch character, who is sentenced to serve community service as a lifeguard after falling from grace by partying hard and vomiting in the pool during an Olympic relay.
“At the Olympics, Brody won his solo events, but messed up the team relay because he got drunk the night before,” Zac says. “He did some illegal stuff, and joining Baywatch is part of his parole.”
“We drew some inspiration from Ryan Lochte in our approach to Brody, which Zac responded to immediately,” Gordon adds. “The character was written before the real Lochte got himself into trouble, which ended up being unexpectedly prescient.”
The swimmer disgraced himself at the Rio Olympics in Brazil last year (16) by making up a story about an early morning mugging, during which he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint.
He landed in big trouble with Rio authorities when it emerged the tale was a lie and he’d actually been caught urinating in public at a gas station by security guards following a night out.
Ryan later amended the details of his story and apologized for his drunken account.
Following an investigation, Brazilian police officials claimed the swimmers vandalized a gas station restroom and the security guards had every right to apprehend them.
The scandal earned Lochte a 10-month suspension from swimming and he was charged with filing a false report.