I spoke with the handsome BRECKIN MEYER about FRANKLIN & BASH, a new series premiering on TNT that you have to watch. Breckin plays Jared Franklin and it was a pleasure to speak with him about his love of the law, the lumberyard, the brilliant lawyer commercials and more. “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” and “Road Trip” are a couple of my favorite films that he has starred in. He has also been in some incredible television shows like; “House M.D.”, “Robot Chicken”, “Party Down” and “King of the Hill”. I can’t tell you enough how much I love his new series, FRANKLIN & BASH. It has the perfect amount of everything to make it a hit show and did I mention his co-star is Mark-Paul Gosselaar. How much more do you need to check this show out? Don’t miss the premiere of FRANKIN & BASH Wednesday, June 1st at 9 PM EST only on TNT.
Breckin Meyer: Hi, Lena.
Lena Lamoray: Hey, Breckin. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.
Breckin Meyer: Cool Website.
Lena Lamoray: Okay, thanks.
Breckin Meyer: You don’t have a name for it, it’s your name. That’s awesome.
Lena Lamoray: Yes. Franklin 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 lumberyard comments. So, can you talk about your favorite scene or lines from the pilot and what we can expect from Franklin this season?
Breckin Meyer: Loving the law, I’m 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. I think Jared has a really nice freedom with his words and he doesn’t worry about what people are going to say. Maybe sometimes he should, but he doesn’t. And I’ve been describing Mark-Paul’s character as very suave and you swim in his blue eyes and he’ll take the jury where he needs them to go. And Jared’s more like a dog going after a tennis ball in a bush, which is he’ll go head first and deal with the thorns later. And I think – and my favorite scenes are always the scenes with Mark-Paul. Anytime he and I get to dual and dance with each other, it’s fun (somewhat).
Lena Lamoray: The promos for the show are brilliant. Who doesn’t enjoy the lawyer ads on TV? You took them one step further. So, would hire them to represent you?
Breckin Meyer: Would I hire Franklin and Bash to represent me? It really depends on what I was arrested for, but I guess I absolutely would only – probably mostly out of curiosity just to see how they’re going to get me off. And also, what I was arrested for, (I’m curious too). But yes, sure why not. I’d hire them.
More Conference Call Interview Highlights:
Q: How did you get involved with Franklin & Bash?
Breckin Meyer: I was – got this script by Jamie Tarses who is a friend of mine and the producer of the show, and I hadn’t done a show – I haven’t done a series, I think, in six years, and she send me, with the subject line, “I think I found your next gig.” And I always told her, I said, “If I was going to do TV, it had to be something different than what I did last time,” and I hadn’t done an hour long, and I definitely hadn’t done a legal drama, or dramedy, as we’ve been calling it. And so, I sat down with Bill Chais and Kevin Falls, the creators of the show, and talked about where they see the characters going. And they said they had Mark-Paul Gosselaar, as Bash – as Peter Bash, and I had met Mark-Paul for about ten minutes ten years ago in an airport, so I really didn’t know him. And we did a screen test together for Sony and Turner and right from the gitgo I just thought, “Oh, well, this guy and I seem to work well together. This’ll be fun.” And we have similar backgrounds, similar work ethic, and take everything – and we take the work seriously, but not each other. And, as he can tell you, because of the numerous Saved by the Bell references I made on set. It went – and it seemed to go well. I like Jared. I mean, I think in the pilot they said it best. (They said this is F. Lee Bailey and) Barnum & Bailey, which is really how I’ve been described my whole life.
Q: Can you talk about having that balance that has to come in pulling off a show like this where it could be just out-of-control humor, but also has to have a little respect for the legal system?
Breckin Meyer: 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, “Look, I understand that this is fun and this is good for the show and it moves the story along, but can this happen?” There’s a lot of, “Can this happen?” And – for example, in the pilot, the girl taking off her shirt and revealing her bra. I said, “Bill, can it happen,” and he says, “Yes, absolutely.” And I said, “Well, what would happen to me,” and he goes, “Exactly what’s happening. You’d be thrown in jail.” So, as long there are consequences, repercussions to our actions, I’m happy to have us take the unorthodox approach to the legal system. And I think that Mark-Paul’s character, Peter Bash, is fantastic with a jury. They love to swim in his baby blues and he’ll take them down whatever path he wants them to, and Jared tends to be a little more unorthodoxed and unleashed in the court.
Q: You definitely bring this kind of jockular comedy to the role of Jared that makes it so enjoyable. How much of that role is adlibbed?
Breckin Meyer: No, it’s definitely not me. I mean Jared’s definitely – he’s got more, oh, I’ll just say, moxy than I do. But, Kevin and Bill, the creators, have been very, very cool about letting me, whether you want to call it, adlibbing, riffing, improving 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, they’ve been really cool. And they’ve also been great about reining me in when I get a little too wild, but I think it’s what makes it for a funny show is that you have that freedom, you have that – (you still have that) freedom to kind of try anything and fail.
Q: Can you tell us about working with Malcolm McDowell and your other co-stars?
Breckin Meyer: Yes. No, I had never worked with – I think I was one of the only people who had never worked with Malcolm McDowell, because he’s done 400 (titles) and movies, but I’d never worked with Malcolm and didn’t know what to expect. You know, he’s – he is absolutely a living legend and if anyone has the – has earned the right to be a diva, it’s Malcolm. And so, I was – not knowing 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. He was riffing with me, he was, pardon my French, he would fuck with me during takes and he – just to keep it fresh and to keep it exciting. And he is such a – I mean, he really is, he’s just a renegade. He has been in this business so long and he’s seen every jackass thing you can see, and he stayed on top and he stayed busy and he stayed great. So, we’ve had such a good time playing with Malcolm, he’s just – I cannot say enough good things about him. I’m – it sounds so hokey, but I’m legitimately proud to say he’s friend of mine. I don’t think he’d know my name if you put a gun to his head, but still I like him very much.
Q: Obviously, the series relies on your friendship – the friendship between Jared and Peter, so how’s your chemistry with Mark-Paul off-screen?
Breckin Meyer: With the guy from that show with the bell? We didn’t 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. And 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, (kind of) solidifying more of the romantic getaway there. And 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 (about) each other, and it’s fun.
Q: The show’s really funny, but some of your characters acts in court could clearly get you guys in trouble. How far do you guys think that you’ll be able to push that boundary?
Breckin Meyer: I think it’s – you know – I mean, other than getting disbarred, I think, would be too far. You know, I will – I think Jared and Peter’s philosophy is they will do anything possible to get their client off, and it means getting sent to jail, so be it. It’s also (the good of the) ((inaudible)) to say about the TV show Mash that everything’s funny but the war…and with Jared and Peter, I think everything’s funny and fair game, except the case, and everything has a reason to it. It’s not just being silly in court because it’s fun, it’s…everything leads to – everything has a reason behind it, everything leads to getting our client exonerated.
Q: In what ways is Jared like you, in what ways is he difficult for you to relate to?
Breckin Meyer: Jared, I think, has more – Jared’s ballsier that I am. Jared has more moxy than I do, but I think we have similar sense of humors. He’s a little sillier than I am…he’s just wanting to play and – something to play with, but I’ve know guys like Jared growing up and…
Q: If I were a client of Franklin & Bash, why would I want your character, Jared, to represent me?
Breckin Meyer: Well, the good thing is with Franklin and Bash, you get both Franklin and Bash. But, I think Jared, who is a – you know, Jared’s a kid who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a – still is a high powered litigator, and he rebelled against that by not wanting to be a lawyer, but eventually had to accept that it was his calling, but if he’s going to do it he’s going to do it on his own terms. And I think you’d definitely – you’d get lawyering like you hadn’t seen before. How about that?
Q: Your character’s been described as quick-witted and scrappy. Do you have anything to add to that description?
Breckin Meyer: Really kind of almost off the chart remarkably good looking. That – I mean that’s not me, that what – I mean, that’s what I’ve heard. Yes, so that’s how I’d describe it.
Q: What were your burning Saved by the Bell questions that you finally got answered after all these years?
Breckin Meyer: There were so many. Many of them revolved around Dustin Diamond. I think the one question I had was, “What really was in the jar of pep pills that Jessie was taking that made her miss the audition?” (Seeing the audition), I recommend that episode. It’s a really good episode.
Q: Were you satisfied with the answer?
Breckin Meyer: Yes. I was definitely satisfied with the answer. I think what the answer was is Mark-Paul pushed me really hard.
Q: What are some of the upcoming cases that are some your favorites Franklin and Bash get to try?
Breckin Meyer: One of my – there’s – I think there’s three that come to mind. One is that we represent a Madoff-like character, which is a challenge for Franklin and Bash, in the sense that they’re used to fighting for the little man, fighting for the underdog and here they are representing, The Man, so speak. You know, what would ((inaudible)). We represent two strippers, ((inaudible)) just a matter of time, and one of my favorites is an episode called Franklin versus Bash where we actually have to go up against each other. I think we had to get that out of the way real quick. We didn’t – it was a Roth and (Rachel) thing. We didn’t want to keep it going.
Q: You have become a big fan and participant on Twitter, and I’m glad to see that you had fun with Seth Green and his wife over the weekend. Why is being a part of Twitter so important to the promotion of the show?
Breckin Meyer: I don’t – I actually don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the show on Twitter, so I – it appears that I suck at it. Yes, so much for the boot camp. But, I mean 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, but I don’t know. I mean, I guess the publicity department could help you out better as far as why it’s important. But, I’m sure in the way it is know there’s so many different social media networks and Web sites and Twitter, and all these things that are just different avenues to reach out and tell people about something you’re proud of, and I’m absolutely proud of this show, I mean.
Q: Why will people want to tune in to watch?
Breckin Meyer: I think it’s good. I think it really is good. I mean, I think it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be, which is I believe – I grew up loving, you know, dramedies. My favorite actors were guys who did both, whether it’s Dreyfuss or Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks. I like the guys who have always done drama and comedy. These are dramedies in a sense. It’s Broadcast News, it was Jerry Maquire, you know, called romantic comedies or romantic…but I think it’s pretty fun. I think it should be fun and I think the cases they get are interesting. They’re from the headline cases on their ((inaudible)), and the ((inaudible)), hopefully people like it. I guess I’ve got to mention, Franklin & Bash on that Twitter account, huh?
Q: What’s the biggest challenge for you developing a TV character like this, as opposed to working on a film and having a shorter window to really get the character out?
Breckin Meyer: I think the biggest challenge with me with Jared is to keep him real, is to make it not just a wacky silly guy. You know, Mark-Paul and I talked with the creators real early on about we didn’t want it just to be the odd couple. We didn’t want funny guy, straight guy. And we didn’t want – you know, it was very – it’s very easy to fall into that rut of, “Okay, well, he’s a funny one, he’s a serious one, he gets the ladies, he’s always whining about not getting the ladies.” And so, we wanted to – these guys are life-long friends, they have to get along. It’s not like they were just thrown together. These guys have to be – these guys have to complement each other, they have to get along, they have to finish each other’s sentences, they have to be funny in their own right, but also funny together. So for me, the challenge is to keep Jared fresh and keep him real so it’s not just uber wacky.
Q: I’ve always been a really big fan of Reed Diamond’s work, ever since Homicide. Obviously, he sort of plays the uptight enemy-type to your character, but what’s he like to work with and what’s he like in real life?
Breckin Meyer: Reed’s great. I mean, Reed has to take so much shit from Mark-Paul and I. It was based on who is character is. I’d never – I hadn’t seen – I’d never met Reed Diamond before and everyone kept saying, “Well, you know, he was on 24, and I expected this very serious guy. And Reed is like the coolest – he was like this cool, suave hippie. He’s always got his guitar with him and he’s just cool and he’s all organic and doesn’t anything that casts a shadow, and things like that. And – but his character – I mean, when we’re on set, not that we’re 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. We’ll 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, he’s a lovely individual.
Q: You know the courtroom drama shows have been around for quite a while, and obviously they usually revolve around the cases with the characters kind of holding up that premise. But, the show seems to revolve around you guys, with the cases kind of coming in second, which makes it kind of fresh and unique. How big of a draw was it to see a show that’s so common, yet is so unique?
Breckin Meyer: Yes, I mean, I hadn’t – I don’t watch a ton of procedurals, but when I read this script, what I liked is that we went home with the characters. I don’t believe that happens all the time on other shows, but the ones I’ve seen it – what I hadn’t seen before was going home with these characters who, first of all they live together, and really get to know them. And half of their time they’re spent a home because that’s where their team is, that’s where Carmen and Pindar or where the guys who were doing things that you can’t necessarily get away with at the office. So, I liked that we followed them. I liked that we followed ((inaudible)) two single street lawyers who have lives outside of the courtroom and have lives outside of their suits, and I like that we get to see that. It was fun though.
Q: Would you want to see your characters get in a serious relationship? Mark-Paul wants to keep the characters single, but what’s your thought?
Breckin Meyer: Yes, I think for right now it’s – I like keeping them single. He – well, his character is just out of a relationship and he’s still ((inaudible)) from the ass whipping that his ex gave him. But, I would like Jared to stay single for a while just because I think it’s fun. I think it’s fun when him crossing the line with his clients or walking that fine line, (because) he’s a nut. But, yes, I’d like to see him single for a while, and Hanna, they’ve got Garcelle’s character, I like that they’re having kind of on and off again thing.
Q: When you were talking about fun things, do you have a dream scenario that you’d love to play out for Jared?
Breckin Meyer: No, I want them to branch out a little bit. I want them to – I’m curious where it’s going to go from here in the, knock on wood, the second season. I’d like some – when they – I like when they get to stick it to authority. I enjoy that. Now that they’re at the highfalutin law firm, I think they’re going to get more chances to do that. So yes, I mean, I leave the stories to Kevin and Bill, but I would love to see them take on bigger and bigger corporate guys. I’d love to see them take on a whole corporation, whether it’s Enron or something like that. It would be fun. I like when they get to mess with the zombie culture, so to speak.