A few months ago, while I was talking with legendary actor Malcolm
McDowell, he was excitedly telling me about Franklin and Bash
Ė an upcoming TV series that he was co-starring in.
ďThatís a terrific show,Ē McDowell said. ďItís about a law firm in
LA and Iím the sort of a renaissance man who is the head of it Ė and
rather an eccentric character who is lovely and hires these two
thirty-somethings to come in and give the law firm a kind of
thinking outside the box, because they are sort of ambulance
chasers. Itís great.Ē
Those two thirty-somethings are Jared Franklin and Peter Bash Ė
played by grown-up former child stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved
by the Bell, NYPD Blue, Raising the Bar) and Breckin Meyer
(Clueless, Road Trip, Garfield).
The series is a smart and funny mix of legal procedural and buddy
comedy. Now, as the show is about to premiere on June 1, we were
lucky enough to be one of a few websites to recently get to talk
in conference calls to the two jocular
stars about what to expect from the soon-to-air series.
I was wondering how you got involved with
Franklin & Bash.
I got this script by Jamie Tarses, who is a friend of mine and the
producer of the show. I havenít done a series, I think, in six
years, and she sent it to me, with the subject line, ďI think I
found your next gig.Ē I always told her, ďIf I was going to do TV,
it had to be something different than what I did last time.Ē I
hadnít done an hour long, and I definitely hadnít done a legal
drama, or dramedy, as weíve been calling it. So, I sat down with
Bill Chais and Kevin Falls, the creators of the show, and talked
about where they see the characters going.
You two have
a great chemistry and Iím wondering did that come instantly, was
there something that you guys did to try and make that work...
Well, we tried dating and that was a bit awkward. Weíve known each
other for a while. We never hung out, we werenít friends, but weíve
known about each other. Weíve grown up in this industry together and
Iíve always respected his work. Iíve always heard good things about
Breckin. His work ethic and mine are very much alike. We both have
families. Those are important to us. Thereís a lot of mutual
qualities that we have that are in synch.
They said they had Mark-Paul Gosselaar, as Peter Bash, and I had met
Mark-Paul for about ten minutes ten years ago in an airport, so I
really didnít know him. We did a screen test together for Sony and
Turner and right from the get-go I just thought, ďOh, well, this guy
and I seem to work well together. Thisíll be fun.Ē We have similar
backgrounds, similar work ethic, and take the work seriously, but
not each other, as he can tell you, because of the numerous Saved
by the Bell references I made on set. It seemed to go well. I
like Jared. I mean, I think in the pilot they said it best: ďF. Lee
Bailey meets Barnum & Bailey,Ē which is really how Iíve been
described my whole life.
Obviously, the series relies on the friendship between Jared and
Peter, so howís the chemistry off-screen?
With the guy from that show with the bell?
Yes, that dude.
One of the things that helped expand [our] relationship was when we
filmed this pilot. The show takes place in Los Angeles, but we
filmed in Atlanta, just for the pilot, and it was just him and I. We
left our families at home and we were sort of forced to be with each
other, you know, on the set and off the set for a good two and a
half weeks. I think that really solidified this relationship with us
and helped the product that you have in the pilot.
We didnít really know each other beforehand. And when we were
shooting the pilot in Atlanta we were kind of locked in confinement
and we would basically go to work, come home, eat dinner in one of
our rooms, and work. We got to know each other real well and we felt
really good when we finished the pilot, and we ended up taking a
trip to Hawaii together, (laughs) solidifying more of the
romantic getaway there. We get along real well and we both show up
the same way, which is knowing our lines, ready to play, we take the
job seriously but not each other, and itís fun.
I just spoke with Malcolm McDowell a few months ago and he was
raving about the series. I thought it was cool that in the pilot
episode, you guys had a
Clockwork Orange poster in your characterís office.
Is it fun to be able to play with little
in-jokes like that?
Yes, I think so. We try to get Malcolm to sing ďSinging in the RainĒ
(a song he was notorious for singing in A Clockwork Orange
while beating and raping a couple) in one episode too, and we didnít
know if that was pushing it a little too far. But, weíre all on the
same page in terms of our humor and weíre just trying to have a good
time, and thatís very apparent when you watch the show. You have a
bunch of individuals who are like-minded that enjoy being on the set
together, and you see it in the product. You see it in the finished
it like to work with the great Malcolm McDowell?
I think I was one of the only people who had never worked with
Malcolm McDowell, because heís done 400 movies, but Iíd never worked
with Malcolm and didnít know what to expect. He is absolutely a
living legend and if anyone has earned the right to be a diva, itís
Malcolm. I did not know what to expect and he came on the set and he
was just unbelievable. I mean he was just awesome. He showed up
knowing his lines and ready to play, which is really everything you
want in an actor and a co-star.
Well, Malcolm is a legend, so the minute he walked on the setÖ he
demands that respect, but he is such a genuine guy who is open and
approachable, and really a team player. He is a great actor to work
opposite. Heís extremely funny. I think thatíll become very apparent
when you watch our shows, heís got great timing and heís just a joy
to watch and to be around.
He was riffing with me. He was, pardon my French, he would fuck with
me during takes, just to keep it fresh and to keep it exciting. He
is such a renegade. He has been in this business so long and heís
seen every jackass thing you can see, and he stayed on top and he
stayed busy and he stayed great.
Iím very happy that heís a part of our show. I think he brings a
great quality to the show, especially for the side that weíre [now
on] We got to work for Infeld Daniels. We never wanted Franklin &
Bash to become a firm like Infeld Daniels. We always wanted to
represent the underdog. The people that canít afford these
high-powered, high priced attorneys. But also, we wanted to do cases
that were fun and not your typical legal case. But, working for
Infeld Daniels those were the things that Franklin and Bash wanted
to stay true [to]. If weíre going to work for a white-shoe firm we
still want to stay true to our roots, and I think they were able to
Weíve had such a good time playing with Malcolm. I cannot say enough
good things about him. It sounds so hokey, but Iím legitimately
proud to say heís friend of mine. I donít think heíd know my name if
you put a gun to his head, but still I like him very much.
Iíve always been a really big fan of Reed Diamondís work, ever since
Homicide. Obviously, he plays the uptight enemy-type to your
character, but whatís he like to work with and whatís he like in
Reedís great. Reed has to take so much shit from Mark-Paul and I.
(laughs) It is based on who is character is. Iíd never met Reed
Diamond before and everyone kept saying, ďWell, you know, he was on
24,Ē and I expected this very serious guy. And Reed is like
this cool, suave hippie. Heís always got his guitar with him and
heís just cool and heís all organic and doesnít anything that casts
a shadow. Things like that. But his character, when weíre on set,
not that weíre in character, so to speak, all the time, but we do
dance around a lot and we do mess around with messing with his
character Karp. And a lot of things that we like to mess with is
stuff off camera before we start filming. Weíll just be kind of
shadowboxing with Reed, so he has to take a lot of crap from us,
just in order to ramp up to what we do on camera. But, heís a lovely
sets this show apart from other legal dramas that are on TV these
We havenít seen comedy in the courtroom in a while. Boston Legal
is probably the last one. Ally McBeal is another one. LA
Law was a brilliant legal drama with elements of comedy, so I
think thatís what sets it apart from whatís currently on television,
as well as the relationship between the two guys. You go home with
these characters at the end of the day, so I think that thatís a
very important element that isnít on television on your typical
legal dramas at the moment.
I donít watch a ton of procedurals, but when I read this script,
what I liked is that we went home with the characters. I donít
believe that happens all the time on other shows. What I hadnít seen
before was going home with these characters that first of all they
live together, and really getting to know them. Half of their time
is spent at home because thatís where their team is. Thatís where
Carmen and Pindar or where the guys who were doing things that you
canít necessarily get away with at the office. So, I liked that we
followed them. I liked that we are two single street lawyers who
have lives outside of the courtroom and have lives outside of their
suits. I like that we get to see that.
Mark-Paul, you just came from
Raising the Bar in which your character wasnít too far off from
Bash. Jerry was a little more seriously, obviously, but you could
almost look at this as kind of a spin-off of sorts. What was it
about Franklin & Bash that made you really want to continue
in the courtroom?
Well, Iíve got to disagree with you, I donít think thereís any
similarities between the two characters other than the fact that
they may look alike, and even that is questionable with the hair.
Peter Bash is an attorney who is confident, who is great in a
courtroom. Heís an assassin in the courtroom. He knows how to be
surgeon with the jury. Jerry was a public defender who wore his
heart on his sleeve, was righteous and he needed to be that way
because of the environment that he was up against. [In] the cases he
was always the underdog, and in an environment where he thought the
cards were stacked against him. I think Peter enjoys the process. He
doesnít see that the tables are uneven. He feels that because he is
a defense attorney that he can find those loopholes and stick it to
The good thing is with Franklin and Bash; you get both Franklin and
Bash. Jaredís a kid who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth.
His father was and still is a high powered litigator. He rebelled
against that by not wanting to be a lawyer, but eventually had to
accept that it was his calling. But if heís going to do it heís
going to do it on his own terms. Youíd definitely get lawyering like
you hadnít seen before.
But, yes, one of things that right off the bat that differentiated
this show from Raising the Bar was the element of humor. That
stood out immediately reading this, as well as the relationship, the
comedy Ė the bromance, if you will Ė of the two main characters,
Jared and Peter. All those elements together made it easy for me to
pull the trigger, knowing that this was not the same show that I had
has some of the best lines in the show. A couple of my favorites
from the pilot were about him loving the law and the lumberjack
comments. So, can you talk about your favorite scene or lines from
the pilot and what we can expect?
Loving the law, Iím actually pretty proud of that one. I think we
came up with that on the day. I really had a good time making the
pilot. It really just felt like when it was done the first think
Mark-Paul and I said to each other was we want to see what else
these guys are going to do. We want to do more. Jared has a really
nice freedom with his words and he doesnít worry about what people
are going to say. Maybe sometimes he should, but he doesnít. Iíve
been describing Mark-Paulís character as very suave and you swim in
his blue eyes and heíll take the jury where he needs them to go.
Jaredís more like a dog going after a tennis ball in a bush, which
is heíll go head first and deal with the thorns later. My favorite
scenes are always the scenes with Mark-Paul. Anytime he and I get to
duel and dance with each other, itís fun.
Right, and plus itís packed with these clever one-liners. There are
so many of them in every episode.
There are some clever one-liners, and I have to say that we have
some great writers. A lot of those one-liners though come from
Breckin and myself, you know, bantering and just having a good time
with the material.
you talk about that you definitely bring this kind of jocular comedy
to the role of Jared that makes it so enjoyable. I mean, how much of
that role is ad-libbed? Were you at a 100% of your personality to
No, itís definitely not me. I mean Jaredís definitely got moreÖ oh,
Iíll just say, moxieÖ than I do. But, Kevin and Bill, the creators,
have been very, very cool about letting meÖ whether you want to call
it, adlibbing, riffing, improvising a little bit. Once they knew
that Mark-Paul and I really got the characters and were looking to
enhance anything, not change it, but just enhance it or find a more
fun way of saying things, theyíve been really cool. Theyíve also
been great about reining me in when I get a little too wild, but I
think itís what makes it for a funny show is that you have that
freedom to try anything and fail.
Mark-Paul, you sort of alluded to one of my questions a bit back,
but all of the shows youíve done in recent years, like
Raising the Bar and NYPD Blue, have been a lot more
dramatic. When did you decide it was sort of time to take on a
lighter role again?
I donít think there was a moment where I said, ďI need to make a
switch here.Ē I had done Raising the Bar, so Iíve basically
done a drama for the past decade. In the end of í09, I went to New
York to do a play [The Understudy]. It was a comedy and I
really enjoyed myself. It was a muscle that I hadnít used in a
while. Coming back at the beginning of 2010, I got a script from TNT
and they asked me to take a look at it, and it was a comedy. I
thought, ďWell, this would be a good opportunity, but Iím not sure
if I want to do something with the structure of a legal drama,Ē
[but] this was different. The structure of a legal drama is still
intact and it has the elements of humor that I think that
enlighten and embellish the show, and that was attractive to me. I
would never say to my representation, ďI donít want to do drama or I
donít want to do comedy.Ē If something is good and something looks
like itís going to be challenge and I believe in it, then Iíll do
got a friend, heís a District Attorney and heís got to prosecute
some pretty heavy cases. Obviously law in the real world is not
something thatís usually associated with comedy of this nature, but
you guys make it work with both the humor and the serious outcomes
to the cases. Can you talk about having that balance that has to
come in pulling off a show like this where it could just be just be
out-of-control humor, but also has to have a little respect for the
Yes, I mean it has to dance the line. Bill Chais, one of our
co-creators of the show, was a public defender for many years, and
we lean to Bill often when I say, ďLook, I understand that this is
fun and this is good for the show and it moves the story along, but
can this happen?Ē Thereís a lot of, ďCan this happen?Ē For example,
in the pilot, the girl taking off her shirt and revealing her bra Ė
I said, ďBill, can it happen,Ē and he says, ďYes, absolutely.Ē I
said, ďWell, what would happen to me,Ē and he goes, ďExactly whatís
happening. Youíd be thrown in jail.Ē So, as long there are
consequences, repercussions to our actions, Iím happy to have us
take the unorthodox approach to the legal system. I think that
Mark-Paulís character, Peter Bash, is fantastic with a jury. They
love to swim in his baby blues and heíll take them down whatever
path he wants them to, and Jared tends to be a little more
unorthodox and unleashed in the court.
Breckin. Itís nice talking with you again. I interviewed you when
you were doing
Oh, really? I like that movie.
Yes, that was a good movie. Now, you touched on this before, but the
showís really funny, but some of your characters acts in court could
clearly get you guys in trouble...
...how far do you guys think that youíll be able to push that
Getting disbarred, I think, would be too far. I think Jared and
Peterís philosophy is they will do anything possible to get their
client off, and it means getting sent to jail, so be it. Itís also
the good of the case. They used
to say about the TV show M*A*S*H that everythingís funny but
the war and with Jared and Peter, I think everythingís funny and
fair game, except the case, Everything has a reason to it. Itís not
just being silly in court because itís fun. Everything has a reason
behind it, everything leads to getting our client exonerated.
What are some of the upcoming cases that are some your favorites
Franklin and Bash get to try?
There are three that come to mind. One is that we represent a Madoff-like
character (played by Seinfeldís Jason Alexander), which is a
challenge for Franklin and Bash, in the sense that theyíre used to
fighting for the little man, fighting for the underdog and here they
are representing, the man, so speak. We represent two strippers,
which I think was just a matter of time, and one of my favorites is
an episode called ďFranklin vs. BashĒ where we actually have to go
up against each other.
Wow, didnít take long to get to that in the first season.
No, I think we had to get that out of the way real quick. It was a
Ross and Rachel thing. We didnít want to keep it going.
Breckin, your characterís been described as quick-witted and
scrappy. Do you have anything to add to that description?
Really kind of almost off the chart remarkably good looking.
(laughs) Thatís not me, thatís what Iíve heard.
Yes, so thatís how Iíd describe it.
pilot is so strong and you certainly steal the show with your
performance of ďIím Not in LoveĒ in your hot tub scenes, so can you
talk about what itís like filming those scenes and if we are going
to see more musical numbers throughout the season?
I do carry the guitar with me throughout the whole season. I do
carry my ass with me through the whole season as well, except I
donít expose either after the pilot episode. Thankfully they have
not forced me to drop my pants more than once throughout the season.
That was actually a very uncomfortable scene for me to shoot. Iíve
done some things in the past, on NPYD Blue. I just recently
had something on Weeds, but to be standing on a set in front
of 100 extras in a hot tub naked is not something that I look
forward to going to work to do. The musical aspect, I really
enjoyed. IĎm glad that Peter plays the guitar. Iím sort of a fiddler
with a guitar as well and I think itís a good character trait of
Peterís. But 10ccís ďIím Not in LoveĒ on the pilot episode was
unfortunately the only sort of song that we could use. I think we
blew through our budget actually, to be honest with you. That song
probably cost us $40,000 just to do. So, if the show becomes more
successful maybe weíll do some more musical numbers, but we need
success to pay for that 10cc song.
In what ways is Jared like you, in what ways is he more difficult
for you to relate to?
Jared is ballsier that I am. Jared has more moxie than I do, but I
think we have similar sense of humors. Heís a little sillier than I
am, just wanting to play and something to play with. Iíve know guys
like Jared growing up.
I want to first follow-up on one of the first things you said
earlier, what were the burning
Saved by the Bell questions that you finally got answered after
all these years?
There were so many. Many of them revolved around Dustin Diamond. I
think the one question I had was, ďWhat really was in the jar of pep
pills that Jessie was taking that made her miss the audition?Ē I
recommend that episode. Itís a really good episode.
I know the episode, were you satisfied with the answer?
Yes. I was definitely satisfied with the answer. I think what the
answer was is Mark-Paul pushed me really hard.
You and Breckin have joined
Twitter. What brought you to it and how has it affected you, as far
as the promotion of the show?
Well, recently we went to a media boot-camp that TNT put us in. What
theyíve told me is that this year theyíre finally on board with
media promoting, or onlineÖ what would it be called? Social media.
They see the importance of it.
I actually donít think Iíve ever mentioned the show on Twitter, so
it appears that I suck at it.
much for the boot camp.
Yes, so much for the boot camp. But, I learned a lot of things at
the boot camp. I learned what a hash mark was, because I thought a
hash mark was a totally different thing until then. I guess the
publicity department could help you out better as far as why itís
One thing that Twitter gives us a chance to do is connect with the
fans and the fans connect with people that they watch on television
or on film, and I think thatís pretty cool. Iím online right now and
Iím reading Tweets from people, and itís just a nice vehicle to get
in touch with the fans.
Iím sure in the way it is now thereís so many different social media
networks and websites and Twitter, and all these things that are
just different avenues to reach out and tell people about something
youíre proud of, and Iím absolutely proud of this show.
Weíll see what the outcome is. This is the first time Iíve ever done
this. We didnít use this sort of campaign with Raising the Bar,
but Iím interested to see how this works with Franklin & Bash.
But, I think itís nice to connect with the fans.
I guess Iíve got to mention Franklin & Bash on that Twitter
I guess you do, otherwise TNT will take it away from you.
Well, itís mine. They canít. Itís my name. Itís not Jared Franklin.
Itís Breckin Meyer.
Whatís the biggest challenge for you developing a TV character like
this Ė as opposed to working on a film and having a shorter window
to really get the character out?
The biggest challenge with me with Jared is to keep him real Ė to
make it not just a wacky silly guy. Mark-Paul and I talked with the
creators real early on about we didnít want it just to be The Odd
Couple. We didnít want funny guy, straight guy. Itís very easy
to fall into that rut of, ďOkay, well, heís a funny one, heís a
serious one. He gets the ladies, heís always whining about not
getting the ladies.Ē These guys are life-long friends, they have to
get along. Itís not like they were just thrown together. These guys
have to complement each other. They have to get along. They have to
finish each otherís sentences. They have to be funny in their own
right, but also funny together. For me, the challenge is to keep
Jared fresh and keep him real so itís not just űber-wacky.
I know that youíve played lawyers
in the past, but I wondered what, if anything, you did to prepare
for this role.
I got a tan. Thatís basically it. Iíd had my legal fill when I did
Raising the Bar. Thankfully I was able to go with David Feige,
who was the creator of that show, and my character was loosely based
on him. I went with him and was an intern at the Bronx Defenders for
about a week and got my legal insight during that week, and for the
last two seasons. So no, there wasnít much that I had to question.
If I did have a question, one of our head writers, Bill Chais, was
defense attorney and a lot of the stories that we deal with on the
show are from his background. So, if we ever have questions we have
people that we can go to, and thatís always important. Obviously it
is television, you take some liberties, but I think weíre pretty
true to staying true to the legal frame.
you have a dream scenario that youíd love to play out for Jared?
I want them to branch out a little bit. Iím curious where itís going
to go from here in
knock on wood
the second season. I like when they get to stick it to authority. I
enjoy that. Now that theyíre at the highfalutiní
law firm, I think theyíre going to get more chances to do that. I
leave the stories to [writer and co-executive producer] Kevin
[Falls] and Bill, but I would love to see them take on bigger and
bigger corporate guys. Iíd love to see them take on a whole
corporation, whether itís Enron or something like that. It would be
fun. I like when they get to mess with the zombie culture, so to
Would you want to see your characters kind of get in a serious
relationship? Mark-Paul wants to keep the characters single, but
whatís your thought?
Yes, I think for right now I like keeping them single. His character
is just out of a relationship and heís still smarting from the ass
whipping that his ex gave him. I would like Jared to stay single for
a while just because I think itís fun. I think itís fun with him
crossing the line with his clients or walking that fine line,
because heís a nut. Iíd like to see him single for a while, and
Hanna, Garcelle [Beauvais]í character, I
like that theyíre having kind of on and off again thing.
Why will people want to tune in to watch?
I think itís good. It really is good. Itís exactly what I was hoping
it would be.,I grew up loving, you know, dramedies. My favorite
actors were guys who did both, whether itís
[Richard] Dreyfuss or Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks. I like
the guys who have always done drama and comedy. These are dramedies
in a sense. Itís Broadcast News, it was Jerry Maquire,
called romantic comedies. But I think itís pretty fun. It should be
fun and I think the cases they get are interesting. Theyíre from the
headline cases. Hopefully people will like it.
The promo for the show is brilliant. Who doesnít enjoy the lawyer as
on TV? You took them one step further. So, would you hire Franklin &
Bash to represent you?
Would I hire Franklin and Bash to represent me? It really depends on
what I was arrested for, but I guess I absolutely would Ė probably
mostly out of curiosity just to see how theyíre going to get me off.
And also, what I was arrested for, Iím curious too. But yeah sure.
Why not? Iíd hire them.