I’d never watched the show up until a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit, it really grew on me. A big part of the show’s success is because of the chemistry between Meyer (Franklin) and Gosselaar (Bash) and after watching the first 4 episodes of this season, that is the absolute major draw. The two riff off each other perfectly and the show is fun, quick and really witty. And the rest of the cast, including Malcolm McDowell, Reed Diamond and Garcelle Beauvais, really make the show worth watching.
In this Q & A, Gosselaar and Meyer talk about the show, their characters and the chemistry they’ve developed over the past year.
Franklin and Bash airs on Tuesdays and 10pm on TNT
What should we expect from your characters in the second season?
Breckin Meyer: I think with the second season, when we jump off, we start with Franklin & Bash becoming equity partners in the firm which, for them, is a great thing because, I mean, it’s more money for toys. But on the bad side, it is a lot more responsibility and also a lot more repercussions for their actions. It’s no longer just the chance of them getting thrown in jail for contempt or getting fired. Now they got, you know, 500 employees behind them and they can really cause some damage, and also them representing – if they have to make rain.
They have to sign corporate companies and these are guys that are used to fighting against, you know – I’m sorry, there’s this giant truck driving by me right now.
You know, they have to sign big corporations. They have to sign corporate guys and, you know, basically they have to sign the guys who they usually fight against. So how do you stay true to your values when you’re working for them instead of fighting them.
You two didn’t really know each other that well before Franklin & Bash started. Have you developed a real-life friendship? And does that translate to having even more fun on screen do you think?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Well, I knew Breckin. I just wasn’t a fan of his work.
Breckin Meyer: Yes, that’s accurate.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yes, that’s pretty accurate. But go ahead, Breckin.
Breckin Meyer: I – my whole thing was, you know, I was hoping that they would get literally anybody but Mark-Paul Goselaar. And then once they got him, it really was just – the money was green so what am I supposed to do, you know, at that point. But no, I think I can honestly say we have – it’s by far my favorite day job I’ve ever had. And I think it shows up on screen. The show lives or dies by whether or not you believe these guys are lifelong friends. And who knows why it works but I think ((inaudible)) from the pilot, thought to each other, okay, this can definitely work. I think you buy that.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: And by daytime job he means by post hole digging and drawing cars as his – car lot, so. This ranks right up there with one of his favorite jobs.
Breckin Meyer: It ranks right up there will pulling weeds.
Do you think you anything in common with your characters?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: I think that, yes, there’re elements of our characters that we have similarities to but for the most part I think that’s one of the reasons why we enjoy playing these characters, is that they’re challenging and each week we find new challenges to sort of tackle with them. And if a character were too similar it wouldn’t be fun. But, yes, these are characters that in the past two years we’ve been working on the show, I don’t think we’ve even touched the surface of what we can do with these two guys.
Breckin Meter: No, I think we’ve been lucky so far. You know, when the writing’s good, it flows pretty easily and it’s not too hard to memorize. And there’re a couple of legal terms I had to ask the producers of the show how to pronounce but other than that, I think we did all right.
One of the things I really like about the show are kind of the little asides that you guys have especially at the end of the scenes. Like an example, in the first episode, one of you say’s to Kevin Nealon’s character, “Hey, turn left at the hooker.” Are those scripted or is there a bit of improv going on?
Breckin Meyer: You know, we did – they give us the script. We always do the show on book. We always do it ex- we always make sure we get a take completely on book. And then once we’ve got it definitely in the can, we kind of take our leash off and they say we can – we riff a little bit just as kind of the (buttons), the ins and outs of scenes, we may riff a little bit and it’s more for us.
It’s more just to help us kind of solidify these guy’s friendships in our mind, that these guys are real friends who riff and goof off. So luckily enough we all kind of get these characters enough. Sometimes some of that stuff ends up in the show. But I mean, it’s fun to be able to riff like that. It just keeps us – it kind of keeps us alive while we’re having long days.
The first season had nudity and kind of pushed the envelope when they portrayed Franklin and Bash’s private lives. Is season two going to be pushing the envelope even further?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: I hope so.
Breckin Meyer: I – we start off full frontal this year.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: We not only go to their private lives but we go to their private parts.
Besides your private parts, it is different for a legal drama to see their private lives where they’re – you guys are party animals.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yes, I mean, I like that we go home with the guys. I mean, I like that we follow their relationship. It’s not just about what happens behind the doors of the courtroom. It’s about what happened in these guy’s lives and how it leads over into the courtroom. But really, it’s about these characters.,
Breckin Meyer: But I also think that they’re less party animals and they really just enjoy the fruits of their labor. I don’t think that they’re the guys that like to sip out of red cups and, you know, and throw a party just to throw a party. They really enjoy having people around them and using their money and having a good time. But they’re not fraternal in that way, right. I don’t think it’s like they’re a party – I mean, we’ve always fought that.
We’ve always said you can’t make these guys just party animals because that’s not fun for everyone. You’ve got to have an element – these guys have to have a level of maturity and I think there’s a fine balance to that I think that we’ve created on this show.
And, again, with this year, giving them more responsibilities, making them equity partners and (Intel Daniels), having them take on harder cases with bigger clients. And people – representing people that in the past that they fought against will create for the audience as well as for the characters, the maturity of that that I think you need to have to make this show work. It can’t just all be fun and, you know, parties.