Efron dances around Lochte comparison
about an alleged robbery that he said took place after he and his teammates attended a party. The incident became an international news story; multiple sponsors dropped him, and he was suspended for 10 months from the US Olympic swim team.
It’s unfortunate that Efron is backing so far away from the Lochte comparison, because the (unintentional) striking parallel between the two is the funniest part of a decidedly unfunny movie.
In Baywatch, the critically panned remake of the 1990s TV series, Efron plays swimmer Matt Brody who, like Lochte, is an Olympic gold medalist with an overly confident, frat- bro swagger. And just as Lochte parodied his own “sex-idiot” reputation on 30 Rock, Brody is handsome but he isn’t the brightest bulb, as he repeatedly botches his lifeguard duties. “Thank God you’re pretty,” another character tells him.
They also have similar downfalls – Brody parties too hard the night before an Olympic relay and throws up in the pool, earning him the nickname “vomit comet”. Then he gets in legal trouble and ends up on Baywatch duty as community service. (That’s one difference from Lochte, who just had to go on Dancing With the Stars to mend his reputation.)
Initially, Brody’s rule-breaking makes him despised by his new colleagues – especially head lifeguard Mitch Buchanan, played by Dwayne Johnson.
But Brody earns sympathy when it’s revealed that he’s tempor- arily homeless because he lost all his sponsors, and soon he realises he’s acting like a jerk and decides to be a team player.
While Efron may not want Lochte linked with his character, director Seth Gordon admits there are clearly similarities.
“The character was written before the real Lochte got himself into trouble, which ended up being unexpectedly prescient,” Gordon said.
Still, the comparisons will live on, even as Efron insists he thought of his character as “the early Justin Bieber of swimming”, or “a cocky dude that messes up but still has a good heart”.
“Just for the record, this is not based on Ryan Lochte,” Kimmel said at the end of his interview with Efron. “It’s a complete coincidence that your character’s disastrous life matches up with his actual disastrous life.”
“One hundred percent,” Efron said. – Washington Post
Zac Efron stars as Matt Brody, a disgraced Olympic swimmer turned lifeguard, in