Back in a Splash
updated 03/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
More like an extended-family getaway than a TV sequel, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding, a two-hour FOX movie airing Feb. 28, has reunited 15 stars (spouses and children in tow) of the syndicated worldwide hit about bronzed, brawny and bosomy lifeguards. "Our big incentive," says star and executive producer David Hasselhoff, 50, "was bring your families, make a vacation."
The new script, which probably won't reverse standard opinion that the series had the IQ of a seahorse, leaves time for R&R. Hasselhoff's Mitch Buchanan, seemingly blown to bits at the end of the Baywatch sequel Baywatch Hawaii, is getting married at a bar run by former lifesaver C.J. Parker (Anderson). Most of the action, including a catfight between actresses Alexandra Paul, 39, and Gena Lee Nolin, 31, is confined to the pool area. Just as well. "Even to this day," says Carmen Electra, 30, engaged to rock guitarist Dave Navarro, 35, "I get water up my nose really easily."
Stung by negative publicity in recent years, some cast members are grateful just to come up for air. Hasselhoff, the father of two daughters (Hayley, 10, and Taylor, 12) with wife Pamela, 40, jokingly calls the movie Heal the Bay. "We all took life too seriously and got stressed out," says Hasselhoff, 50, referring to the time in 2002 when a drinking binge put him in the hospital and then the Betty Ford Clinic. "Everyone here is doing great again."
For Anderson, engaged to singer Kid Rock, 32, the relaxed shoot is all about having fun. "I don't want to act anymore," she says. "I just want to eat cookies all day." Her last series, the syndicated VIP, is history, she has custody of her kids after a legal battle with their father, rocker Tommy Lee—and she can no longer take her health for granted. Last year she announced she'd contracted as-yet-incurable hepatitis C. "Now I'm just researching what I can possibly do," says Anderson. "But I have very minimal liver damage. I'm not going to crumble." Later she spends time with Carmen Electra, and they discuss how their marriages collapsed. "It's all a mess," says Electra, divorced from Dennis Rodman. "You did the right thing, Pam."
For Bleeth, who brought her husband, the shoot is a honeymoon. Two weeks earlier she married club owner Paul V. Cerrito Jr., 32, whom she met in rehab in 2000. He stood by the actress during her relapse in 2001, when she pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. Now serving two years' probation, she says, "Something good did come out of it all. I met a man worth turning my life around for."
With two weeks left of filming, Hasselhoff stares out at the ocean. "I'd love to see this go on forever," he says. "But I'll be okay whatever happens. You take it one sunshine and one wave and one day at a time."
Ulrica Wihlborg in Hawaii