Interview with Breckin Myer of "Franklin & Bash" on TNT - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Breckin Meyer

Interview with Breckin Meyer of "Franklin & Bash" on TNT 5/10/11.

Moderator: Chrissie Eckhardt
May 10, 2011
2:40 pm CT

Operator: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Turner Entertainment Hosted Breckin Meyer, Franklin & Bash conference call. Todayís conference is being recorded. At this time, Iíll turn the conference over to your host, Chrissie Eckhardt. Please go ahead, maíam.

Chrissie Eckhardt: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining the Breckin Meyer, Franklin & Bash conference call.

Franklin & Bash premieres Wednesday, June 1, at 9:00 pm Eastern on TNT.

The conference call is now open for questions. Please press star 1 to ask a question.

Thank you.

Operator: And just a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, star 1 if youíd like to ask a question. And if you are using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment.

Weíll take our first question from Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jamie Steinberg: Hi. Itís such a pleasure to speak with you.

Breckin Meyer: Hello, darling.

Jamie Steinberg: Oh, youíre English for the day.

Breckin Meyer: Just for today.

Jamie Steinberg: Well, I was wondering how you got 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 hadnít done a show - I havenít done a series, I think, in six years, and she send me, with the subject line, ďI think I found your next gig.Ē

And I always told her, I said, ďIf I was going to do TV, it had to be something different than what I did last time,Ē and I hadnít done an hour long, and I definitely hadnít done a legal drama, or dramedy, as weíve 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 didnít know him. And we did a screen test together for Sony and Turner and right from the gitgo I just thought, ďOh, well, this guy and I seem to work well together. Thisíll be fun.Ē

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 Iíve been described my whole life.

Jamie Steinberg: Okay, thank you so much.

Breckin Meyer: Youíre very welcome.

Operator: And weíll take our next question from Patrick Douglas with Great Falls Tribune.

Patrick Douglas: How are you doing, Breckin.

Breckin Meyer: Hey, (Bubba). Howís it going?

Patrick Douglas: Actually, Iíve got a friend, heís a District Attorney and, you know, heís got to prosecute some pretty heavy cases, and obviously law in the real world, you know, itís not something thatís usually associated with comedy of this nature, but you guys make it work with both the humor and the serious outcomes to the cases.

I mean, if you talk about having that balance that has to come in pulling off a show like this where it could be - it can just be just be 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, ďLook, I understand that this is fun and this is good for the show and it moves the story along, but can this happen?Ē Thereís a lot of, ďCan this happen?Ē

And - for example, in the pilot, the girl taking off her shirt and revealing her bra. I said, ďBill, can it happen,Ē and he says, ďYes, absolutely.Ē And I said, ďWell, what would happen to me,Ē and he goes, ďExactly whatís happening. Youíd be thrown in jail.Ē So, as long there are consequences, repercussions to our actions, Iím happy to have us take the unorthodox approach to the legal system.

And I think that Mark-Paulís character, Peter Bash, is fantastic with a jury. They love to swim in his baby blues and heíll take them down whatever path he wants them to, and Jared tends to be a little more unorthodoxed and unleashed in the court.

Patrick Douglas: Well, yes, when you talk about that you definitely bring this kind of jockular comedy to the role of Jared that makes it so enjoyable. I mean, how much of that role is adlibbed where you - or, you know, where you at a 100% of your personality to it?

Breckin Meyer: No, itís definitely not me. I mean Jaredís definitely - heís got more, oh, Iíll 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, theyíve been really cool.

And theyíve also been great about reining me in when I get a little too wild, but I think itís 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.

Patrick Douglas: Thanks.

Breckin Meyer: Yes.

Operator: Weíll go next to Amy Harrington with Pop Culture Passionistas.

Breckin Meyer: (Pop Culture)...

Amy Harrington: Hi, Breckin. Thanks for your time today.

Breckin Meyer: What is it? Pop Culture, what, Amy?

Amy Harrington: Passionistas. Like fashionista, but with a P.

Breckin Meyer: Sure. Iím with you. Okay.

Amy Harrington: Because weíre passionate about pop culture.

Breckin Meyer: Yes, ((inaudible)).

Amy Harrington: So, you 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 heís done 400 (titles) and movies, but Iíd never worked with Malcolm and didnít know what to expect.

You know, heís - he is absolutely a living legend and if anyone has the - has earned the right to be a diva, itís 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, heís just a renegade. He has been in this business so long and heís seen every jackass thing you can see, and he stayed on top and he stayed busy and he stayed great.

So, weíve had such a good time playing with Malcolm, heís just - I cannot say enough good things about him. Iím - it sounds so hokey, but Iím legitimately proud to say heís friend of mine because ((inaudible))...

Amy Harrington: Thatís awesome. And...

Breckin Meyer: ...Malcolm McDowell.

Amy Harrington: Thatís so great. And...

Breckin Meyer: I donít think heíd know my name if you put a gun to his head, but still I like him very much.

Amy Harrington: Maybe heíll learn it over time. And obviously, the series relies on your friendship - the friendship between Jared and Peter, so howís your chemistry with Mark-Paul off-screen?

Breckin Meyer: With the guy from that show with the bell?

Amy Harrington: Yes, that dude.

Breckin Meyer: We didnít 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 itís fun.

Amy Harrington: Thatís great. Well, thank you for your time and best of luck with the show.

Breckin Meyer: Absolutely.

Operator: Our next question will go to Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: Hey, Breckin. Itís nice talking with you again. I interviewed you when you were doing Blue State.

Breckin Meyer: Oh, really? I like that movie.

Jay Jacobs: Yes, that was a good movie. Now, (New Insider) touched on this before, but the showís really funny, but some of your characters acts in court could clearly get you guys in trouble...

Breckin Meyer: Yes.

Jay Jacobs: far do you guys think that youíll be able to push that boundary?

Breckin Meyer: I think itís - you know - I mean, other than getting disbarred, I think, would be too far.

Jay Jacobs: Yes.

Breckin Meyer: You know, I will - I think Jared and Peterís philosophy is they will do anything possible to get their client off, and it means getting sent to jail, so be it. Itís also (the good of the) ((inaudible)) to say about the TV show Mash that everythingís funny but the war...

Jay Jacobs: Right.

Breckin Meyer: ...and with Jared and Peter, I think everythingís funny and fair game, except the case, and everything has a reason to it. Itís not just being silly in court because itís fun, itís...

Jay Jacobs: Right.

Breckin Meyer: ...everything leads to - everything has a reason behind it, everything leads to getting our client exonerated.

Jay Jacobs: Okay, and in what ways is Jared like you, in what ways is he sort of difficult for you to relate to?

Breckin Meyer: Jared, I think, has more - Jaredís ballsier that I am. Jared has more moxy than I do, but I think we have similar sense of humors. Heís a little sillier than I am...

Jay Jacobs: Okay.

Breckin Meyer: ...(heís) just wanting to play and - something to play with, but Iíve know guys like Jared growing up and...

Jay Jacobs: Okay, well, great. Best of luck with the show.

Breckin Meyer: I appreciate it.

Operator: Weíll go next to Lena Lamoray with

Breckin Meyer: Hi, ((inaudible))...

Lena Lamoray: Hey, Breckin. Itís a pleasure to speak with you.

Breckin Meyer: ...oh the Web site.

Lena Lamoray: Okay, thanks.

Breckin Meyer: ((Inaudible)) sort of have a name for it, itís your name. Thatís 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 lumberjack comments. So, can you talk about your favorite scene or lines from the pilot and what we can expect.

Breckin Meyer: Loving the law, Iím 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 doesnít worry about what people are going to say. Maybe sometimes he should, but he doesnít. And Iíve been describing Mark-Paulís character as very suave and you swim in his blue eyes and heíll take the jury where he needs them to go. And Jaredís more like a dog going after a tennis ball in a bush, which is heíll 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, itís fun (somewhat).

Lena Lamoray: Okay. Now, the promo for the show (is brilliant) who doesnít enjoy the lawyer as on TV, and 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 theyíre going to get me off. And also, what I was arrested for, (Iím curious too). But...

Lena Lamoray: Thank...

Breckin Meyer: ...but yes, sure why not. Iíd hire them.

Lena Lamoray: Thank you so much.

Breckin Meyer: Youíre very welcome.

Operator: Next weíll go to Laura Simons with Abnormal Use, Legal Blog.

Breckin Meyer: Abnormal Use, Legal Blog, ((inaudible)).

Laura Simons: Yes. Hi, Breckin.

Breckin Meyer: Hey, howís it going?

Laura Simons: Good. Our readership is made up primarily of lawyers...

Breckin Meyer: Okay.

Laura Simons: ...and you sort of touched on this a minute ago, but I wonder 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, Jaredís 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 heís going to do it heís going to do it on his own terms. And I think youíd definitely - youíd get lawyering like you hadnít seen before. How about that?

Laura Simons: Okay. And your characterís 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 thatís not me, that what - I mean, thatís what Iíve heard. ((inaudible))...

Laura Simons: Right.

Breckin Meyer: ...Iíve heard.

Laura Simons: Thatís obvious.

Breckin Meyer: Yes, so thatís how Iíd describe it.

Laura Simons: Well, thank you.

Breckin Meyer: Youíre very welcome. Thank you.

Operator: Weíll take our next question from Fred Topel with Screen Junkies.

Fred Topel: Hi, Breckin. I want to...

Breckin Meyer: Hey, Fred. Howís it going, good?

Fred Topel: Good, thank you. I want to first follow-up on one of the first things you said in the first answer to your question, 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, ďWhat really was in the jar of pep pills that Jessie was taking that made her miss the audition?Ē (Seeing the audition), I recommend that episode. Itís a really good episode.

Fred Topel: And - I know the episode, were...

Breckin Meyer: Yes.

Fred Topel: 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.

Fred Topel: Well, Iíve seen the first two episodes and really into the show, so I was wondering, what are some of the other upcoming cases that are some your favorites Franklin and Bash get to try?

Breckin Meyer: One of my - thereís - I think thereís 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 theyíre 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.

Fred Topel: Wow. Didnít take long to get to that in the first season.

Breckin Meyer: No, I think we had to get that out of the way real quick. We didnít - it was a Roth and (Rachel) thing. We didnít want to keep it going.

Fred Topel: Wow. Well, thank you very much. Good luck with the show

Breckin Meyer: Thank you very much.

Operator: And just a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, if youíd like to ask a question, press the star key followed by the digit 1 on your telephone keypad.

Weíll take our next question from Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jamie Steinberg: Well, I wanted to ask you, and I asked Mark this, both of you have become a big fan and participant on Twitter, and Iím 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 donít - I actually donít think Iíve ever mentioned the show on Twitter, so I - it appears that I suck at it.

Jamie Steinberg: So much for the boot camp.

Breckin Meyer: 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 donít know.

I mean, I guess the publicity department could help you out better as far as why itís important. But, Iím sure in the way it is know thereís 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 youíre proud of, and Iím absolutely proud of this show, I mean.

Jamie Steinberg: Why will people want to tune in to watch?

Breckin Meyer: I think itís good. I think it really is good. I mean, I think itís 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 itís Dreyfuss or Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks. I like the guys who have always done drama and comedy. These are dramedies in a sense. Itís Broadcast News, it was Jerry Maquire, you know, called romantic comedies or romantic...

Jamie Steinberg: Great...

Breckin Meyer: ...but I think itís pretty fun. I think it should be fun and I think the cases they get are interesting. Theyíre from the headline cases on their ((inaudible)), and the ((inaudible)), hopefully people like it.

Jamie Steinberg: Great. Thank you, again.

Breckin Meyer: I guess Iíve got to mention, Franklin & Bash on that Twitter account, huh?

Jamie Steinberg: I guess you do, otherwise TNT will take it away from you.

Breckin Meyer: Well, itís mine. They canít. Itís my name.

Jamie Steinberg: Itís...

Breckin Meyer: Itís not Jared Franklin, itís Breckin Meyer.

Operator: Weíll take our next question from Patrick Douglas with Great Falls Tribune.

Patrick Douglas: All right, Breckin, now whatís the biggest challenge for you developing a TV character like this, as opposed to, you know, working on a film and, you know, 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 didnít want it just to be the odd couple. We didnít want funny guy, straight guy. And we didnít want - you know, it was very - itís very easy to fall into that rut of, ďOkay, well, heís a funny one, heís a serious one, he gets the ladies, heís always whining about not getting the ladies.Ē

And so, we wanted to - these guys are life-long friends, they have to get along. Itís 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 otherís 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 itís not just uber wacky.

Patrick Douglas: Thanks.

Operator: And ladies and gentlemen, once again weíll remind you, star 1 if youíd like t ask a question.

Weíll go now to Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: Iíve always been a really big fan of Reed Diamondís work, ever since Homicide. Obviously, heís (playing this funny) - heís sort of plays the uptight enemy-type to your character, but whatís he like to work with and whatís he like in real life?

Breckin Meyer: Reedís great. I mean, Reed has to take so much shit from Mark-Paul and I. It was based on who is character is.

Jay Jacobs: Yes.

Breckin Meyer: Iíd never - I hadnít seen - Iíd never met Reed Diamond before and everyone kept saying, ďWell, 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. Heís always got his guitar with him and heís just cool and heís all organic and doesnít anything that casts a shadow, and things like that.

And - but his character - I mean, when weíre on set, not that weíre 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. Weíll 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.

Jay Jacobs: Sure.

Breckin Meyer: But, heís a lovely individual.

Jay Jacobs: Okay, great. Thank you.

Operator: And weíll go next to Patrick Douglas with Great Falls Tribune.

Patrick Douglas: All right, a third question.

Breckin Meyer: ((inaudible)), you said that ((inaudible)).

Patrick Douglas: All right, so 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.

I mean, how big of a draw was it to see a show thatís so common, yet is so unique?

Breckin Meyer: Yes, I mean, I hadnít - I donít watch a ton of procedurals, but when I read this script, what I liked is that we went home with the characters. I donít believe that happens all the time on other shows, but the ones Iíve seen it - what I hadnít 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 theyíre spent a home because thatís where their team is, thatís where Carmen and Pindar or where the guys who were doing things that you canít 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.

Patrick Douglas: Thanks.

Breckin Meyer: Yes, man.

Operator: And we have a question from Jim Halterman with

Jim Halterman: Hey, Breckin, thanks for your time today.

Breckin Meyer: Howís it going, man.

Jim Halterman: Hey, good. I was just talking to Mark-Paul, so sorry if I joined the call a little bit late.

Breckin Meyer: ((inaudible)).

Jim Halterman: Yes, he held me up.

Breckin Meyer: Heís just an asshole.

Jim Halterman: So, Iíll ask you the same question I asked him. You know, I asked if you would want to see your characters kind of get in a serious relationship, and he wants to keep the characters single, but whatís your thought?

Breckin Meyer: Yes, I think for right now itís - I like keeping them single. He - well, his character is just out of a relationship and heís 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 itís fun. I think itís fun when him crossing the line with his clients or walking that fine line, (because) heís a nut.

But, yes, Iíd like to see him single for a while, and Hanna, theyíve got Garcelleís character, I like that theyíre having kind of on and off again thing.

Jim Halterman: Yes. Thatís fun. All right, great. Thanks so much.

Breckin Meyer: (Youíre welcome).

Operator: And we have a call from Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: When you were talking about fun things, do you have like sort of a dream scenario that youíd love to play out for Jared?

Breckin Meyer: No, I want them to branch out a little bit. I want them to - Iím curious where itís going to go from here in the, knock on wood, the second season. Iíd like some - when they - I like when they get to stick it to authority. I enjoy that. Now that theyíre at the highfalutin law firm, I think theyíre 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. Iíd love to see them take on a whole corporation, whether itís Enron or something like that. It would be fun. I like when they get to mess with the zombie culture, so to speak.

Jay Jacobs: Okay, great. Thank you.

Operator: And thatís the last question we have in our queue this afternoon. Iíll turn the call back to Ms. Eckhardt.

Chrissie Eckhardt: Thank you so much everyone for joining todayís call. As a reminder, Franklin & Bash premiers Wednesday, June 1 at 9:00 pm Eastern on TNT.

A transcript of this call will be available within 24 hours.

Thank you, Breckin, and thank you everyone for participating. Have a good day.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude our conference. We appreciate your participation.

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