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Mark-Paul Gosselaar & Breckin Meyer Talk 'Franklin & Bash'

by Joel Keller, posted May 25th 2011 10:00AM
'Franklin & Bash'It feels like both Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer have been on a whole lot of TV shows, doesn't it?

But when the stars of TNT's new lawyer dramedy 'Franklin & Bash' (premieres Wed., June 1 at 9PM ET) sat down with AOL TV to talk about the show, Gosselaar took pains to mention that, despite the presence of such flame-outs as 'Inside Schwartz' on Meyer's IMDb profile, his co-star has been in less TV shows than people think.

"I'm gonna put him in his place," joked Gosselaar, who's starred in everything from 'Saved By The Bell' to 'NYPD Blue.' "He hasn't had a long TV career. I think he's more known for his films, because what, B, you only had two shows?"

Meyer's semi-self-deprecating reply shows that the two have an easy chemistry, even off-screen: "Yeah, two shows. Except for some reason, I think people think I've done a lot, which is flattering and offensive."

The stars play unconventional lawyers Peter Bash (Gosselaar) and Jared Franklin (Meyer), guys' guys who take any and every case they can get and run their firm out of the man cave they live in. That is, until Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell) asks them to join his huge firm to shake up its stodginess.

One thing that strikes me in the show is the chemistry between you and Mark-Paul. Have you guys worked together in the past?
Breckin Meyer: First time we've worked together. We met each other for 10 minutes 10 years ago in an airport. That was about the only time we've spent together.

And you knew you were going to star in a series together ...
BM: And from then on, we'd aim to find a vehicle. [Laughs]

Did you guys notice you had good chemistry right away?
BM: Mark-Paul had already been set as Peter, so he read with 3 actors, me being one of them. And when we read together, we definitely felt that we complemented each other well, and there was a bit of a chemistry. You never know. I mean, look, the show hasn't aired yet. You never know exactly how people are going to respond to it. But as far as the working relationship goes, we definitely have good chemistry together and work well together.



What set it apart for you from other lawyer shows on TV?
BM: The one thing is, I hadn't done a series I think in six or seven years, and I'd never done an hour-long [series]. I don't watch too many procedurals, and when they said it was an hour-long legal drama, or legal dramedy, I wasn't interested in doing just a case-of-the-week show. It was really about their relationship, like how they adjust to fighting the man for so long, and now suddenly being the man essentially, being in this white shoe law firm now. And how do they stay true to who they are and how they got to where they are, now that they've joined this firm. And how are they going to change the firm, how's the firm going to change them?

(Mark-Paul joins the conversation)

Mark-Paul, how you doing?
MPG: Hey, how's it going? Is B.M. here?
BM: Hi sugar!
MPG: There he is!
BM: Hey buddy!
MPG: I just saw the, yeah, sort of the list of who I was doing interviews with, and it says I get to do an interview with B.M.
BM: [Laughs] So you thought it was Burgess Meredith?
MPG: [Laughs] Suddenly the coffee I was drinking was getting to me.
BM: Oh! Because of B.M.

Mark-Paul, we were talking about chemistry -- when did you notice that you guys had something good going here?
MPG: You know, I was asked this question earlier today, and I really think ... us filming [the pilot] in Atlanta sort of forced us to bond a little quicker. But I thought when we were filming the diner scenes, Breckin, because it was just this scene between you and I, I really felt like those were the moments like we're sort of on the same page, we're in sync with each other. And there's a certain timing that he has -- he had to learn my timing as well as I had to learn his.

Mark-Paul, your last show was a one-hour lawyer show for TNT. When you saw this script, what set it apart from 'Raising the Bar' or some of the other stuff you'd done in the past?
MPG: What stood out immediately was it wasn't a typical lawyer show, because there was a lot of comedy. On every page, there was something that made me snicker or giggle or laugh. The characters were very broad and comedic, and then what stood out as well was the bond between the two main characters, and the relationship that was formed on the page.

Malcolm McDowell plays your boss. He usually plays the bad guy ... he's the guy who killed Captain Kirk, after all.
BM: Allegedly.

Because you guys filmed the pilot in Atlanta, outside of L.A., is there a bonding that goes on with the cast because you're away from home?
BM: I think how we kind of found our chemistry was that every night, we'd either come home from rehearsal or work, and eat dinner in one of our hotel rooms, and go over the next day's work and find things that maybe if we were in L.A. going home to our separate homes, we wouldn't have had that time. We wouldn't have had that time to find the little nuances in the characters that make them kind of fully fleshed out.

MPG: I think also with Breckin and I we sort of have the same work ethic, we have the same values, and sort of the same background of where we've come from, being in this industry for as long as we have. We just understand each other. I think that that sort of sets a tone for everyone on set.

There are a lot of in-jokes in the script -- I noticed that in the "cave" that Franklin and Bash call home, there's a poster for 'A Clockwork Orange,' which starred McDowell. Or is that just a coincidence?
MPG: No, I don't think anything's a coincidence on our show. I do think that there's little things like that that they'll do. Wasn't there something, Breckin, where they wanted ... what was that song that he sang in the ...

BM: 'Singing in the Rain.' Yeah, they wanted Malcolm to dance to 'Singing in the Rain' at one point. [Laughs]

Which he also did in 'A Clockwork Orange,' right?
MPG: Yeah. When he's, I believe, beating the homeless man.

You guys have both been on comedies before. Is 'F&B' the type of set where the tone of the show matches the tone of what goes on off-set and vice versa?
BM: I think this is a little different. Because I'd have to say we're drama first, and then the comedic elements are brought in by the characters. But the cases are serious. I think definitely Mark-Paul's and my banter with each other bleeds over into the show. But Reed Diamond's nothing like Karp, and Malcolm's actually not too much like Infeld. If anything, I think the banter between Mark-Paul and I is similar to the banter between Bill and Kevin, our creators of the show, but that kind of stuff bleeds over. And they know that we have a handle on these characters, so they do let us have a little freedom with the words.

Do you guys relate to Franklin and Bash at all? I mean, they're guys who are in their latter 30s, who are still kind of hanging out like they used to when they were younger, and still kind of having the same freedom.
MPG: I think the only thing I'd want that Peter Bash has that I don't have is a law degree. [Laughs] But that's about it. I mean, it's a fun character to play, but you know, I so wouldn't want to be living with my best friend in a man cave. [Both laughing] I mean, that doesn't appeal to me, but it makes for good comedy, makes for good television. What about you, B? Would you want to be like Jared?

BM: I think no. I mean, I wouldn't mind having a law degree. I respect the, I'll just say moxie, of Jared. I like that he is fearless and so is Peter. I respect that. I can't ... I'm not afforded that freedom in my life [laughs], so I envy that. Other than that though, I think I'm OK.

Do you guys trade war stories at all about being on TV for so long, and the different things that went on? What about your experience has helped the other one out?
MPG: [Laughs] This is really sort of the first one hour drama -- or one hour show -- that you've been a part of. And that whole process was new to him, and in the beginning, it was a bit of challenge for you, right? Because you're not used to having to do as many pages as we'll usually do in the day ...

BM: Yeah, I definitely deferred to Mark-Paul. I mean, the good thing was, ignorance was bliss in the sense that I didn't know our schedule was tight. You know, six and a half days to do an hour-long show is not the norm necessarily. And sadly for Mark-Paul, he knew that it was a tight schedule. So I was kind of ignorantly blissful about it. But I would look to him a lot about things as far as block shooting and just learning the ropes. I mean, I'm very ... you get spoiled on features where you do, you know, a page a day, or half a page a day, as opposed to on our show where you're doing nine to 10.

Watch a sneak peek of 'Franklin & Bash'




'Franklin & Bash' premieres Wednesday, June 1 at 9PM ET on TNT.

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