In TNT’s new dramedy Franklin & Bash, Breckin Meyer plays Jared Franklin, a quick witted, scrappy lawyer every underdog wants to have. Mark-Paul Gosselaar portrays Peter Bash, a fearless attorney whose charm does more than just amuse jurors and anger judges: it wins cases. Malcolm McDowell plays the senior partner at Infeld Daniels, the law firm where Franklin and Bash are now practicing, and Garcelle Beauvais is Hanna Linden, a longtime member of the Infeld Daniels team.
The actors got together to talk about their new series, which premieres on June 1st.
Mark-Paul, your character is a little bit like the lawyer you played in Steven Bochco’s series Raising the Bar. He dresses better in this, but he still has kind of a disheveled personality.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Actually, I don’t see the similarity between Raising the Bar and this show. This, to me, feels like a completely different show that what we did on Raising the Bar. This is a drama, but yet the comedic element that we bring and the relationship with have [has some comedic elements]. I think this is a much fresher idea, and it’s different.
I do see the difference with the new character, but I also miss the noble public defender. Do you miss him?
Mark-Paul: I miss working with Steven Bochco. But that character was so righteous all the time. I miss the nobility of playing a public defender. I thought that was great and we hadn’t seen that on television. But I’m having a much better time doing this. The stories that we had, they was so heavy all the time. It was just nice to be on a show like this that is a little lighter and more entertaining in a way.
Did you both think about having a bromance before you came on this show?
Mark-Paul: Well, we dated before we actually started the show. We thought that was important.
Breckin Meyer: Dating is a strong word. No, we hadn’t met. We actually met at an airport during a layover seven years ago, I think. But other than that, we hadn’t met.
We both have been acting for awhile, so we knew of each other, but we had never worked together. And Mark-Paul was already on the gig when I got the script and he and I sat and we read it together. We just had a good time. We got along real well. Not anymore, but we did. (he laughs)
Garcelle, can you talk about your character a little bit?
Garcelle Beauvais: My character is Hanna Linden. I fell in love with it as soon as I read the script, because I thought she takes no prisoners and doesn’t apologize for who she is. And I think it’s great that what I like about her is that she can be strong and still be sexy, and one doesn’t negate the other. But I think it was well written, and I also love my relationship with Breckin.
Breckin: We do it.
Garcelle: Yeah, pretend.
Breckin: On the show.
Garcelle: We pretend.
Breckin: (shaking his head and mouthing) We do it.
Garcelle: It’s just really fun. It’s a really fun character, and I love that the show is light. And I’ve worked with Mark-Paul before, and it was always very serious on NYPD Blue, so it’s nice that we get to goof off and it’s nice to be like the sane person in this.
Malcolm, what was it about this project that interested you?
Malcolm McDowell: To be honest, just reading the script and meeting with our producers convinced me that this was going to be a terrific show. And then, of course, I met these two (indicating Mark-Paul and Breckin) and all bets are off. (he laughs)
If you’re going to do television, then it’s a beautiful show to be in. And I don’t have to be there 24/7, like these two who are really carrying everything. So it’s very nice to come in, do six scenes, and say, ‘Well, look at the time. Sorry, I’m off home now,’ and they’ve got four more scenes to do, so they’ll be shooting till 2 o’clock in the morning. So for me it was the perfect job.
In the first episode, you had a little thing where you stomped on your karate instructor. I was wondering, was that a tribute to The Clockwork Orange?
Malcolm: I’m glad you mentioned that film, because it only took 10 seconds! But, yes, we wanted to have a direct line to the work that did 40 years ago. I’m glad you noticed it. Thank you very much. (he laughs) Of course not. It was just a bit of fun, and I thought she was very game.
Breckin: That’s what I know you from.
Malcolm: You’re too young to have seen it.
Was it your idea to add that bit?
Malcolm: It was my idea. I actually improvise all my own parts. I don’t know why they hire writers. (he laughs) I enjoy ad-libbing greatly, because I basically I can’t remember what the hell I’m doing.
You have odd posters on their wall, including the SWAT remake. Do you think that poster is appropriate for these guys?
Breckin: Absolutely. McDowell was in it, I believe.
Malcolm: Pretty much every film, all the crappy ones.
Breckin: If it’s not you, it’s Michael Caine. I’d give SWAT another viewing, if I were you. It’s a gem.
Breckin, at the Upfronts, you described the show as Ally McBeal meets Godzilla meets Sex Games Cancun. Do you think that still holds?
Mark-Paul: We read it off the teleprompter.
Breckin: I think it still holds, with a little bit of SWAT.