Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer star in the new TNT show Franklin & Bash, which premieres this Wednesday, June 1. The two stars were in town to promote the show and attend a special advanced screening at Dave & Busters.
And luckily, I had an opportunity to speak with them as part of an interview roundtable.
The two portray lawyers who own a small, quirky, practice that takes on the more salacious cases the larger firms overlook. They are approached by Malcolm MacDowellâ€™s character Stanton Infeld, the eccentric owner of the prestigious firm Infeld & Daniels, to join his team. Garcelle Beauvais, one of the Infeld senior attorneys, has a complicated relationship with Infeldâ€™s nephew Damien Karp- played by Reed Diamond.
The most notable element of the show is the wonderful chemistry between Meyer and Gosselaar. Their characters have been friends for years, and their banter is the unifying thread of the series. Mr. Meyer explains that he met Gosselaar for â€œten minutes in an airport ten years ago.â€ They recognized each other from their extensive body of work as young actors; both have been in the business for over 20 years.
Gosselaar and Meyer quickly created their on screen chemistry while filming the pilot in Atlanta. In the evenings, they would return to their hotel to prepare for the next day.
â€œWeâ€™d sit in the restaurant and embellish on the work already there,â€ explains Meyer. Throughout the interview, I get the feeling that they have really bonded. Meyerâ€™s always quick with a joke about Gosselaarâ€™s admirers from his Saved by the Bell years, and is self-deprecating about his own height.
â€œLegally Iâ€™m 3â€™2,â€ Meyer adds.
The actors credit the creators Kevin Falls (Journeyman, The West Wing) and Bill Chais (Shark, Dirty Sexy Money) with the strong dialogue and fast paced storytelling. The actors stick to the script, but have the freedom to, as Meyer says, â€œround the edges off.â€
â€œ100% collaboration” is how Mr. Gosselaar described the work environment.
“Our writers and producers were on set with us, which is unlike most shows where the writers might be back at an LA office. For a legal drama, we donâ€™t have as many expositions â€“ especially the shows Iâ€™ve been on.â€
Gosselaar and Meyer took turns listing adjectives to describe their co-star McDowell: â€œthe legend,” â€œprofessional,” â€œinsane,” â€œcrazyâ€ and â€œlovely.â€ Meyer quipped, â€œI think he did a movie during a take of Franklin & Bash.â€
Meyer then gushes about Beauvais. â€œSheâ€™s crazy beautiful,” he said.
Gosselaar worked with her before on NYPD Blue. They believe the strength of the writing is creating strong buzz that lures A-list guest stars.
“If you read the script and like it, come and play,â€ says Meyer. That approach is working â€“ Beau Bridges appears later in the season as Franklinâ€™s father.
Gosselaar also shared with me the rewards of working on a TV show versus a film.
â€œYou are pushed in different directions as actors,â€ he says. Gosselaar thinks thereâ€™s less stigma associated with taking a television role than â€œten years ago,â€ and Meyer agrees.
â€œOn film there are times when you are in your trailer for eight hours,â€ he adds.
Gosselaar explained that they shoot an episode in six and a half days rather than eight, which is typical of most network shows.
â€œDoing nine pages a day is exhilarating,â€ Meyer adds.
Later that evening at Dave & Busterâ€™s, Meyer and Gosselaar were good sports and extended their question and answer session when it was clear the audience wasnâ€™t ready to see them go. They then patiently stood and met all the fans that were ecstatic to get a chance to snag a photograph with them.
I bet there were hundreds of Facebook profiles changed to proudly display those pictures!
Contact Diane Cooney at email@example.com
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