TNT’s new legal series, “Franklin & Bash,” follows a pair of attorneys with unconventional litigation styles who get unexpectedly drafted into a corporate firm. Breckin Meyer (“Clueless,” “Road Trip”) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (“Saved By the Bell,” “NYPD Blue”) play the titular characters, Jared Franklin and Peter Bash, respectively.
Gosselaar “signed on” for the series first, but he says he wouldn’t officially join until the producers found his cohort. After all, the show doesn’t work if the two main characters can’t carry on a believable TV bromance.
“I was tentative, because it was a legal drama, granted it had brilliant elements of humor intertwined in it, but it was also a relationship piece,” Gosselaar tells Zap2it.
“One of the major components of this show is the relationship between these two guys, Franklin and Bash. I wasn’t completely onboard until I knew who they were going to pick as my partner.”
But Gosselaar was thrilled to hear Meyer’s name come up, though the two stars who had been working in Hollywood for more than two decades had never even met.
“Him and I had the same work ethic, as well as our families are very important,” Gosselaar explains. “We’re not out there clubbing, we’re not out there at a bar getting lit up on weekends. We sort of come from the same backgrounds, so it’s not like we’re going to run into each other at some nightclub. We did run into each other once during a layover at an airport, but that was it.”
So, basically the series had to embark on a discovery process to see if the two men could play believable buddies. And, of course, talent is only one facet of playing a character. Everyone was sure Meyer could definitely handle the role, but would there be that all-important chemistry between them?
“I feel like the show lives and dies by these characters,” Meyer tells us. “And obviously them being lifelong friends you want it to be believable. Mark-Paul was already set in the show when I got the script and he read with me and two other actors. And when we read together in the room at Sony we definitely felt that we got along, we definitely felt that we could work together and that we can get these characters individually.”
“I saw Jared Franklin as Breckin Meyer,” Gosselaar says. “And once we signed him on, that was it. We ran with it.”
The big test for the actors’ bromance, though, would come once they began actually shooting the pilot in Atlanta where they would have to spend two weeks together “locked in confinement,” as Meyer puts it.
“But by the second day, we knew we’d get along very well,” Meyer remembers. “We knew we had a similar work ethic and that we would compliment each other well.”
While he thinks the characters’ relationship comes through, Meyer knows it’s really up to the viewing public. “You never know,” he says. “I mean, the show hasn’t been on yet and we’ll see. Hopefully, people respond to it the way I did.”
Gosselaar, though, believes that viewers will relate to not only the main characters’ bromance, but the fact that the legal show has other aspects that the audience will gravitate to.
“If you take away the fluff of the man cave and the parties and sort of the cases that we work on,” he explains. “These are two average guys who people can connect with. I think the writers and producers do a really good job of expressing that. And that’s why I think we’ll have such a broad audience, because there’s a little bit of everything for people to watch.”
“Whether you’re in it, because you like legal dramas and you like the structure of a courtroom or whether you like the humor that’s involved,” he continues. “These are true characters and through out the season they progress and you realize, ‘OK, these are guys that I like watching, because they have a lot in common with me. I know a guy like this guy.’ They’re not these completely broad characters who are untouchable.”
“Franklin & Bash” premieres Wednesday, June 1 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.