"Franklin & Bash" is the newest serving of TV justice from TNT, starring Breckin Meyer (Rat Race, "Robot Chicken") and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who to many has been immortalized as character Zach Morris on 90's show "Saved by the Bell." On the new show premiering June 1st at 9/8c, the duo star as two lawyers who employ unusual tactics to win difficult cases that include a party-hardy airline pilot and a dominatrix who falls in love with one of her clients. Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) plays their unusual boss, and the show features cameos from actors like Danny Trejo, Jason Alexander, James Van Der Beek, and others. The Scorecard Review sat down with the two TV stars to discuss their new show, plus the cinematic idols of their characters, what Malcolm McDowell is really like, and more. And please - don't spoil The Book of Eli for Mark-Paul Gosselaar, or he might (jokingly) threaten to punch you in the face.
What do lawyers and actors have in common?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Ability to perform. Connect with the audience, and connecting with a jury at the same time.
Breckin Meyer: They’re both totally full of sh*t.
Gosselaar: Highly overpaid. Sharks.
Who are Franklin & Bash’s favorite movie lawyers?
Meyer: For Jared, I think it’d be Pacino’s character in And Justice for All, Lt. Kaffee (Tom Cruise) in A Few Good Men and Judd Nelson in From the Hip, which is a David Kelley movie. Judd Nelson post-St. Elmo’s Fire.
Gosselaar: With A Few Good Men, we’re on the same page with that one. Charles Laughton in Witness for the Prosecution.
Meyer: And a bit of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. [Franklin & Bash] really strive to be like that.
Would they read a John Grisham book? Or watch A Time To Kill?
Meyer: They’d probably high-five McConaughey.
Did they see The Lincoln Lawyer? Would Matthew McConaughey be a hero or kind of a d-bag?
Meyer: [Franklin & Bash] are in their early 30’s. They probably saw A Time To Kill in law school and thought, “Man that’d be great. To be all ripped and sweaty in a courtroom and to get Sandra Bullock.” But he’s probably one of the reasons they started going to law school. But I don’t know if they’ve seen Lincoln Lawyer.
Breckin, you play drums, and Mark-Paul, you play guitar. Are we ever going to get to see you guys jam in an episode?
Gosselaar: I don’t think so.
Do you guys ever jam in real life?
Meyer: No. I only have a kit in my house. But I have drumsticks in my on-screen office, that I’m messing with often. Which is actually my nod to Nothing in Common with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason.
What does it say about Franklin & Bash that they don’t go to a sports bar after a day of work, they go to a diner instead?
Meyer: I think you and I prefer diners.
Gosselaar: [Franklin & Bash] have already got their mancave.
Meyer: They’re not frat guys in that way.
Gosselaar: I don’t think the humor of “Franklin & Bash” is fraternal.
Meyer: They’re more diner guys. Have breakfast at midnight, as opposed to go to Hooters. They’d rather meet the girl who works at Hooters after when she’s off work.
How did you guys get on the project?
Gosselaar: I have a relationship with TNT from projects before, and I got a crack to see if this was something that I wanted to do. And [Breckin] came on board a little bit later. So it was always a matter of “Do we want these two guys?” so we had to prove we were the guys, and we read together.
Did you guys know each other a lot from years before?
Gosselaar: We had met, years prior in a passing fashion. When his name came up for the project, it was like thumbs up, let’s do it.
Meyer: He actually did the Fonzie thing. For me, I knew the producer and the other co-creator. We worked on a project two years ago and it didn’t work, didn’t end up doing it, and Jamie Tarses, a three-time Emmy-winner from “The West Wing” and “Sports Night,” so he knows how to put words together, he sent me the script in an email and in the subject it said, “I think I found your next gig.” Then Mark-Paul and I did a chemistry read together in front of Sony and TNT to show that we could get one foot in front of the other, and we got on well.
Gosselaar: [Looking at the poster] “Justice with a twist … you have a vagina.”
Meyer: My daughter said that.
Gosselaar: That you have a vagina?
Meyer: No, you sick f*ck. She was like, “Why is your hand on your …” the word was "crotch." My left hand is kind of gesturing to my junk, and my tie is perfectly pointed to my crotch. The “twist” is that I’m a lawyer who really likes … what would be in that glass?
Gosselaar: Vodka, dude. It’d be a martini.
Meyer: “Vodka, dude.” Like I should know.
What is Malcolm McDowell like off-camera?
Meyer: He has bits of fun wackiness.
Gosselaar: He’s intense, he’s insane.
Meyer: He can turn it on and off. It’s funny, he’ll be joking with you, and every now and then you’ll see this glimmer of …
Meyer: He think-headbutts a lot. He’s a Liverpool thug, and he loves to hold that. He says he’s from Liverpool all the time. He’s a pub thug. But he’s everything you’d want Malcolm McDowell to be.
He’s kind of mellowed out a bit, Book of Eli …
Meyer: The twist is that …
Don’t ruin it.
Gosselaar: My friend saw it.
Meyer: Are you sure you don’t want me to ruin the twist?
Gosselaar: Are you sure you don’t want to take a punch in the face? … I’ll put it on my queue.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve heard a real lawyer do in trial?
Meyer: All of Cochran’s antics during the O.J trial. The “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” was the most theatrical thing, [and] that was live on TV. Actually, this is my favorite story. I can’t remember his name, but in Philadelphia, some law school has a big section named after him. His big thing was that he sued Lockheed and Boeing over a plane crash. And the way he did his closing argument was a mock phone call of the parents getting the news that their child had died. Because of faulty seating, he might have lived had things not been substandard. And his entire closing argument was his conversation as the parents receiving the call that his parents were dead. And it was this really dramatic thing. And he won. That was one of those things where you hear about it, and you think, “That’s a gamble.” They jury could have been like “What the f*ck is he doing?” That’s dramatic.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Gosselaar: We had scrambled egg, bacon, and toast. Meyer: Isn’t that adorable?
Gosselaar: I’m on a papaya kick right now. Meyer: Apple. I just do the Fruit of the Loom guys. If you’re not on the underwear, I’m not going to eat you.
Favorite Summer Movie?
Gosselaar: Jaws was one for me. Meyer: Alright, dad. Gosselaar: It scared the sh*t out of me ... and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Is that your favorite Star Wars film?
Gosselaar: I like The Empire Strikes Back. Meyer: Anybody that rocks the Jar-Jar movies has to be under twelve years old. I’m trying to think of my favorite summer movie … please put Jaws and Star Wars, but within the last decade … I was really digging Iron Man. For my birthday, I always tend to go to a really terrible summer movie, whatever is out that year. And we saw that movie one year and it was like, “This is what a summer movie should be!” It was so good. It was awesome.
Age of first kiss?
Gosselaar: Probably kindergarten. I don’t know … I know your [Meyer] answer. Isn’t it Drew? How old were you? But I think my first was with Soliel Moon Frye (“Punky Brewster”). Punky power. I’ve got to think … Meyer: What a whore you are. Mine was eleven. A girl in elementary school. This was a real kiss, we got certificates for it from our friend. The girl got me an agent, so I think I did okay. [Editor's note: this is Drew Barrymore.]