Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer recently sat down with me to discuss their new show Franklin and Bash which premieres tonight on TNT. In Franklin and Bash, two young, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants street lawyers cause a seismic culture clash when they join a legendary, button-down law firm. Breckin Meyer is Jared Franklin, who loves sticking it to authority every chance he gets, while Mark-Paul Gosselaar plays Peter Bash, who has a knack for connecting with jury and judge.
The night before our interview, both Gosselaar and Meyer attended a special screening for the series along with an Q/A session here in Atlanta. Fans were able to ask the two about the series, filming the pilot episode here in Atlanta, and what there favorite Atlanta hotspots were… Answer? They didn’t get out much while they were here – but they were a huge fan of Sublime Doughnuts. The next morning I made sure I had some of those doughnuts with me which lead way to a delightful interview. Check it out below!
When you first saw the script, what was your initial impression? What stood out to you?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: The comedy side of a legal drama, because we’ve all seen the typical framework of legal dramas before. But this had the comedic element and the relationship element between Franklin and Bash – that’s what made this project different for me.
Breckin Meyer: I liked that show followed them home. It wasn’t just about the cases. It’s not a case of the week kind of thing. I don’t watch a ton of procedures, but the ones I’ve seen – this was a different take on it. It lives or dies by the relationship between these two guys. It was a unique twist on a legal drama.
I know you guys filmed the pilot here – probably in part because of the tax incentive that Georgia offers for projects filmed here. But how difficult is it to move a show across the country, after you filmed the pilot here? You establish a certain look and feel here, and then moving that to LA – Can you talk a bit about that?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: We had always envisioned the show filming in Los Angeles, so we had established in our mind what we needed to bring to Atlanta. That was the job of the director Jason Ensler, one of the co-executive producers. He’s directed about 4 or 5 episodes, but that was his vision to make Atlanta look like Los Angeles. That was always our intention to shoot in LA, just with the pilot – with the tax incentive – we shot here. I think we did a really good job with it. The crews were great, the extras and the guest stars were great.
Breckin Meyer: Yeah, we really liked shooting here.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yeah, we had a great time. I feel that us shooting here is what established our chemistry (points to Breckin) and established the unity with the other actors on the show.
I know that Franklin has a bit of a back-story with his dad. Are we going to get into that in the upcoming episodes?
Breckin Meyer: Yeah, his dad shows up in episode 4 played by Beau Bridges, and they go toe-to-toe. And it’s possible he may come back again. I was always looking forward to that, because his dad is the iconic litigator and the anti-Jared. It’s a really good episode.
If you had to describe each of your characters in 3 words, what 3 words would they be?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Confident, Smart, Exciting.
Breckin Meyer: Impulsive, Confident, Savvy.
You both have very iconic roles in your past. I’m wondering if those have lead to any odd or extremely memorable fan experiences?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: We were talking about this in the car… I would like this part of my fan encounters to stop- “I know you hate this, but…” I hate that a fan feels like they can’t approach someone that they admire and say “loved your work on Saved By The Bell“, “I loved you as Zack”, or whatever it is – to preference it by saying “I know you hate this…” Because I don’t, I don’t know where that came from. We were trying to figure this out. It must have been one bad seed.
Breckin Meyer: One bad apple.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Exactly. I know you don’t hate it when someone comes up to you and says “I loved you as Travis Birkenstock.”
Breckin Meyer: Yeah, not at all. It’s a compliment. It’s so weird for someone to come up to you and say I know you hate that job you had… that you still have. This is still my job. I’m still an actor. For someone to come up and say I love that movie you were in – is a giant compliment. Now if someone came up and said, “Hey Zack. Zack Attack! Where’s Screech, Zack?” You may get annoyed.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: It may be obnoxious, but I don’t hate it.
Breckin Meyer: But having someone come up and compliment your work – it’s great. For me, it was when someone came up to me and said they went into rehab because Travis Birkenstock did at the end of Clueless. That was pretty surprising. I never thought that would happened based on Clueless. Clueless is a lovely movie, but it definitely wasn’t an advocate for a 12-step program.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Now I’m clean. [Jokes]
Breckin Meyer: Now Mark-Paul is totally clean. It’s amazing. Yep, 486 days sober. [Laughs]
What are your favorite television shows?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Anything on the Food Network or the Cooking Channel… Also Dexter, Celebrity Apprentice this year… I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m watching reality television now.
Breckin Meyer: I watch The Office, House, Boston Legal when it was on, Parks and Recreation, Mad Men…
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: No one watches Mad Men.
Breckin Meyer: I actually have seen every episode, and I actually dress up as the characters when it’s on. I have my own theme night. Just me. I make beverages, and they’re fancy. I wear suits, smoke cigarettes, and drink brown liquor. Yep, Mad Men Mondays! [Laughs]
Do you guys have any other projects that you’re currently working on?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: I just finished a MOW (movie of the week) with Amy Smart.
Breckin Meyer: My old lady.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yeah, your old lady. That’s a holiday film so it will come out during the holidays.
Breckin Meyer: I sold a show to TBS that I wrote. We’re developing that now… And another season of Robot Chicken which is a show I write for and do voices for, and that’s about it.
Is there any chance of there actually being a Saved By The Bell reunion?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: No. There’s never been anything tangible.
Is it just a lack of a good script?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: No one has ever written a script. It’s never been anything other than an idea.
Breckin Meyer: Or a question.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yeah, I think it was a question started by Fallon, or a rumor started by Fallon.
As a closing note, I have to say this was one of my favorite interviews. Not just because I was a huge fan of Saved By The Bell and Clueless (which to me makes these actors pretty iconic), but it was the interaction between these two. Their banter with one another was very reminiscent of the banter between Franklin and Bash. It’s clear that their bromance (though they hate the word) isn’t something that exists solely on the series. There’s no egos here, just two guys you want to hang out with – and that’s exactly what you can do this summer with Franklin and Bash! Be sure to catch it tonight on TNT at 9/8c and check out a preview below!
Interview By: Emma Loggins