Original 'Baywatch' Star David Chokachi on What He Thinks of The Rock's Movie Reboot (Exclusive)
Getty/Instagram
See the OG Cast of 'Baywatch' -- Then & Now

The brand new "Baywatch" movie has the seal of approval from at least one of the original series' stars.

David Chokachi may not have been with the show since its premiere, but his Cody Madison stood out thanks to his romantic entanglements with Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson's characters, as well as the actor's own Ken doll good looks and ripped physique.

While critics have piled onto Universal Pictures' new film adaptation -- see some of the savage reviews here -- Chokachi told TooFab he thought Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Zac Efron and Co. "nailed it" when it comes to bringing the show to the big screen.

Keep reading to see the actor's review of the film, why he thinks critics have been wrong about "Baywatch" for over 20 years and what he said about secret hookups on the show's set.

What's your initial reaction to the new film?

It's better than I ever thought it could be or would be. It is really really funny. It's a newer style of humor, because The Rock and Zac Efron, they're so fast, their wit is so quick and it keeps going and it does not get old. It's definitely some locker room humor, but for me, you forget about your real problems and you're laughing out loud.

One of the executive producers, Greg Bonann, he and his partner have a charity called A Chance for Children, which takes inner-city kids and introduces them to the ocean for the first time. We bought tickets, they filled the theater. As a treat, Paramount gave Greg and everybody a chance to see the movie. It's hilarious.

The Rock is just genius. It's not really spoofing the show, it's just situational comedy with a dramatic through-line. Looking at that movie and trying to imagine how else you could do it, I don't think you could do it any other way. They nailed it. They crushed it. At first, I was like, I don't know how that's gonna work, but it worked. And it works really well.

How do you think it does compare to the original show?

There are similarities. Dwayne Johnson's character is trying to create cohesion amongst the lifeguards who are making the new team and that was a big thing during the show. Our show, we geared it towards family and kids more. It's harder to do the show the way we did than the way they did because they got to make fun of the stuff we always wanted to make fun of, but couldn't. Even being able to swear on camera when things were funny, they have that liberty and we didn't get it.

It appeals to anybody across the board. Anybody that wants a break from their life, a time out, that's what the show was back in the day. People would joke in certain countries they'd turn the volume down and watch the images because they didn't need to hear the dialogue. They just wanted to see it. The show actually works without dialogue, which is pretty funny.

Some of the reviews from the critics have been less than enthusiastic.

It even goes back to the show. When we were doing the show, they ripped us constantly in the press. What they failed to understand is what they were doing was a medium of entertainment. We did the best we could with what we were working with. And it worked, maybe not to a critic's eye because they're like, 'Look at the acting, it's terrible.' The show was geared to family and kids, we weren't doing Shakespeare.

That's the same thing with this movie, they're not looking to win an Oscar here. They're looking to entertain people and they highly succeed at that, I guarantee it. I think the humor is spot on, The Rock has really good timing, Zac Efron's timing is amazing. I went into it skeptical and I came out of it a total believer. The Rock 2020!

You'd vote for him?

I would vote for him in a heartbeat. He's got my vote now, he's got it locked up.

We saw you did an event with co-star Jaason Simmons and recently posted an Instagram video with Alexandra Paul. How often do you all see each other?

A bunch of the cast has had a project called "The B Team" running around for a long time. I don't know if it'll ever see the light of day, but because of that, we actually have been working on it. We worked on something else creatively. We have these quarterly creative meetings, so we've actually stayed in really good touch.

David [Hasselhoff] has been a little tougher because he spends a lot of time in Europe, everyone's in touch, Pam a little bit less, but the rest of us bump into each other or stay really good friends. It just goes beyond the normal cast relationship. For the most part, a lot of us look as good if not better than we did on that show!

We were Instagram-stalking everyone today and your photos came up. You're still in great shape!

I feel like I've hit a second pulse in my life and I feel like I'm honestly better physically than I've ever been my whole life. I'm a lot more disciplined now.

It looks like you still spend a lot of time at the beach too.

We do. We have a place on Point Dume and it's just magical. I'm a huge surfer, I take my daughter surfing, she surfs with me on my board. She's only 5 1/2. The ocean is my sanctuary. I come out after two hours in the water and I can deal with anything. For me, it's a giant reset button to be connected to the ocean, the beach.

Is it crazy for you to have the show back in the public eye so strongly right now?

It's definitely weird because it was almost 20 years ago, it's a blast from the past and revisiting a lot of things. There's been press opportunities for us, the original cast and stuff's popped up. It's exciting because there's a couple generations that don't even know what "Baywatch" is, they're like, "What is that?", they're too young, so for them it's really cool.

Even my daughter, who's 5 1/2, she's getting it. She's like, "Daddy look, 'Baywatch!'" And see the billboard of the new movie. It's cool, I love it, it's another reason for us to get together again, we're a super tight crew of cast members over there from the original cast, it's great.

Are there any stories from back in the day that you haven't shared that you'd spill on now? People love to hear about fights, hookups.

There were more hookups than I've ever let on. I could drop names, but there are more than I ever told people about. We didn't want to breach each other's privacy over the year and I've been able to maintain for 20 years.

There are definitely more instances than the fans know about. For sure there were. We're on a beach man, your endorphins are kicking, there's the smell of suntan lotion and gorgeous girls, your body starts doing things you can't even control it!

What's next for you?

I just did a Christmas movie with Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Mark McGrath, like a modern day Christmas Carol. Before that I did a cool little indie horror film called "The Bone Box" and I'm halfway through this movie called "Emerald Run" and it's one of the best things I've been involved in. We shot half of it in December and then they ran into some problems with production, it's on hold unfortunately. The bummer is, I think it's the best piece of work I've done in the 20 years of acting I've been doing. It's a really strong project.

I have a show called "Black Files" I created with two other guys, it's a 12-episode arc and it's all about terrorism and human trafficking in Eastern Europe, I play a super dark character and he's just nasty and that's like my dream role.

And there's one other one called "Unit 5," which is based on a graphic novel and we're in the process of adapting it into a screenplay. There's no superpowers. The characters all spawn from the tragedy of 9/11 and become part of this anti-terror group.

I take care of our daughter a lot because my wife has a really big job at Gucci, so I don't try to take projects that are outside of LA. It limits me a little bit, but the reward is I get to spend a lot of time with my girl and it's the best thing in my life.

"Baywatch" hits theaters May 25.

View Photos 29 Stars You Totally Forgot Were on 'Baywatch'

Advertisement