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Cool! It's Zack from Saved By The Bell - aka. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, star of E4's Franklin & Bash

Posted: 10/08/11 21:30

When you wake up in the morning and you're something something something and you think you're gonna make it on time. By the time you get your books and you get yourself a look, you're at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by...

Okay, I'm being facetious, but you get the drift. For people of a certain age, despite a celebrated turn on NYPD Blue and several other TV series, 37-year-old Mark-Paul Gosselaar will forever be known as Zack from Saved By The Bell. Luckily, he's okay with that - 1) because he's got a sense of humour and 2) he's had a very successful career since and is currently starring as a cocky lawyer in E4's Franklin & Bash, alongside Breckin Meyer (Clueless).

But tell us Mark-Paul, why is a photo of you at a charity do with Tiffani Thiessen (SBTB's Kelly Kapowski) all over Twitter? Could it be..? First off though, let's talk attorneys...

There's a lot of lawyer shows about. How do you make it fresh?

Coming off of playing a lawyer for two years [in US show Raising The Bar], the last thing I wanted to do was play another lawyer. But reading past the first few pages you realise it's less about lawyering and more about the relationship between the two protagonists. I thought the way they combined the humour with the courtroom drama and the procedural aspect of the show was well done. For me, I've gone from one side to the other. Playing a cop for four years and despising defence attorneys and the criminals. Then playing an extremely liberal attorney. These two guys are somewhere in between.

Do you have the skills to represent yourself?

No, but it has sparked an interest to one day, if things slow down, to go and attempt the bar. I think having a law degree is one of the best degrees you can get.

You wouldn't get screwed over in any of your contracts...

(laughs) That's right. And I wouldn't have to pay a lawyer, I'm all for that.

You seem to spend rather a lot of time in the show with your top off?

I'll look at the writers and say 'really, does this really need to be in?' The one in the pilot was character development. We've had a couple in other episodes. He does take his shirt off quite a bit. I'm not a big fan of taking my shirt off. I'm starting to get up there in age and I'm competing with these young ones, the no hair on the chest look. There's been a lot of nudity in my career the last few years. I don't want people to judge me - I need the money.

All the great TV screen partnerships are about sexual tension. So when are Peter and Jared going to get it on?

(laughs) It happens every show, it's just off-camera. It's in the DVD cut. Breckin and I always joke about it. I think there's a true love between these two guys, I just don't think it's the kind of love that would be more than a hug.

What a great final shot to the series that would be though, right? Those two waking up in bed together.

That would be great! What a great ending!

As we've said, that pic of you and Tiffani blew up. People really wanted you to get married to her in real life. Are you surprised how successful that show has become?

People still view us as those characters. We did five years of it and every year we'd have a wrap party because we didn't have viewers and we thought the show was done. NBC had nothing better to put on on Saturday morning and our show was cheap to make. It wasn't until syndication that it really took off. And it's continued to find a whole new generation. I don't understand it, but I find it flattering.

So you get the whole SBTB nostalgia?

I've been playing the SBTB game on YouTube. They have made a YouTube videogame and it's fantastic. I contacted them and said what an excellent job they did.
[The actor] Miles Fisher did a music video which was an homage to SBTB which is also on YouTube.

They've remade 21 Jump Street. What about a SBTB movie reboot?

(laughs) That would be great. You know, I'd be totally into watching a Saved By The Bell movie, I just don't think [the original cast] should do it. Watching people nearing forty play high school characters is quite sad.

Okay, final question. You're on a desert island and you're only allowed ONE movie. You have a choice between the films of two former co-stars. Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls or Mario Lopez as diver Greg Louganis in Breaking The Surface. Which do you go for?

There'd be no competition, it would definitely be Elizabeth's movie. There's elements of comedy, there's elements of drama - it has everything in it. There's nudity! I'm on a desert island, (laughs) rest assured I'd need some sort of entertainment.

Franklin & Bash in on E4 on Wednesdays at 10p.m.

 

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