In anticipation of their new TNT show “Franklin & Bash”, 215 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with the stars of the series, Mark-Paul Gosslaar and Breckin Meyer. The show itself centers on the premise of two low-rent lawyers who don’t like to play by the rules and use their audacity and charm to win people over and influence juries and judges along the way.
The opinion of lawyers is, in general, not a very flattering one. I recall William Shakespeare in King Henry reminding us, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Why do you think there exists a paradox between the everyday feeling towards lawyers and the overwhelming popularity of legal dramas in American culture?
MPG: There is comedy and drama in the courtroom. I think there are great characters that come out of the courtroom. This makes for great television. I don’t necessarily like lawyers, or the world that they are in, but there are great characters that come out of that world.
BM: And there is conflict; the idea that someone is fighting a fight. Whether it’s the cops trying to figure out who did what, or a lawyer representing someone – ideas of good and evil are represented.
What will be the balance between the comedy and drama? Will the show deal with difficult issues as well?
MPG: It should definitely not be called a “dramedy”, I hate that word.
BM: I think the balance will be similar to a show like “MASH”. In the show “MASH”, everything was funny but the war. And with us, everything is fair game and fun but the case. In our pilot episode we have a client that removes her top in court to prove a larger point. It’s done in an unorthodox manner. This is what our characters are all about.
It seems to me, the heart of the show is really about the trials of a friendship in the new environment of corporate law.
BM: Yes, I think the big challenge for this season is: how do these guys who are used to fighting for the underdog against the man, still do that now that they are ‘the man’?
What is the general background of the characters? Are we going to learn that they are Harvard graduates?
MPG: No, these characters are really smart and, although the come from a combination of upper and middle class backgrounds, they have never really asserted themselves. They can be the brightest guys in the room, but they have never applied themselves.
BM: That’s right. And there’s a moment in the show when they are brought in by a new law firm and realize, “We are going to be doing a murder case...” They have never done that. They are used to suing the roller-blader that hits the hot dog cart. This is a new and exciting opportunity for them.
The series takes place in Los Angeles, is there anything unique about that city that adds to the dynamic of the show?
MPG: Yes, absolutely. That is one of the reasons we fought for L.A. Originally, the show was going to be filmed in Atlanta and take place in Atlanta. But we just thought that was ridiculous because there are just so many great ideas in L.A. We wanted to stay close to our families and use the resources provided to us by the city.
A bit off topic, Mark-Paul, I understand that Mr. Skin voted you the best sex scene in 2010 for your role on “Weeds”. And Breckin, you had quite the sex scene with Amy Smart in “Road Trip”. Between the two of you, who has the better sex scene?
BM: Oh, they were definitely two different kinds of scenes. Mine was making love, yours [MPG] was making God blush. His was insane.
MPG: Yea, his [BM] was Saturday morning and mine was primetime. I almost lost a tooth.
I understand that James Van Der Beek will have a guest spot on your show; so let me ask you, who wins in a fight, Zach Morris or Dawson Leery?
MPG: Didn’t Dawson cry in like every episode?
BM: Yea, but Zach was swelled up. Zach was working out at the end of that series.
MPG: Well not only that, but I didn’t take shit from A.C. Him and I got in a fight. I don’t think Dawson ever got in a fight with Pacey.
BM: I think the fight would end just like an episode of Dawon’s Creek – it would be Dawson crying in a boat. I put my money on Zach.
MPG: Yea, I put my money on Zach. Plus I had the phone; I could pull that out and pistol-whip him with it.
Breckin, you had the good fortune of co-starring with Anna Paquin and Amy Smart. In a perfect world, assuming you didn’t know either of them, who would you hit on in a bar?
BM: Well here’s the thing, my first on-screen love scene was with Salma Hayek. I love Anna, and I love Amy, but if Salma walks in the bar, Salma walks in the bar.
MPG: That’s funny; his question had nothing to do with Salma.
BM: [laughing] I'm just saying, she was the hottest leading lady.