Mark-Paul Gosselaar Interview On 'Raising The Bar,' Stephen Bochco, 'NYPD Blue,' A 'Saved By The Bell' Reunion
Mark-Paul Gosselaar is known for playing the high school hunk on Saved by the Bell and the rookie cop on NYPD Blue. These days, Gosselaar finds himself working for the underdogs on Stephen Boncho’s new legal drama, Raising the Bar. “We have a lot of dramatic things to get through every episode,” he told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “That’s the biggest challenge — trying to knit all these big things together.”
Gosselaar, whose full name is Mark Paul Harry Gosselaar, was born in Panorama City, Calif. Paul’s career began at a very young age, modeling at the age of five. He also appeared on several TV commercials for Oreo Cookies and quickly rose to stardom in his role as the slick-yet-charming Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell in 1989 with fellow hunk Mario Lopez. Two years later, he played the same character in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, which wasn’t as successful as its predecessor. But luck struck again when he was cast in NYPD Blue as the young cop, Detective John Clark, Jr.
Gosselaar hasn’t dismissed the possibility of a Saved By the Bell reunion. “Jimmy Fallon has put it out there and we’ve discussed it,” said Gosselaar, raising hopes among fans that perhaps the former high school gang will come together once again.
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We are almost going on a decade here. We are pretty comfortable with each other. He’s very supportive of me and gives me great creative tools to work with. I trust him and I assume he trusts me. We are both extremely passionate about our work.
The challenge that we usually have is that our stories are very complex this year. A lot of characters in the stories revolve around the clients who are played by the guest stars. We have a lot of dramatic things to get through every episode. That’s the biggest challenge–trying to knit all these big things together. I don’t think the work suffers but for the actors you have to be on top of your game which all of us are.
The biggest challenge for me was understanding this character to begin with. My perception of the criminal justice system was what I saw on television. On shows like Law & Order, the perception is swayed completely to the side of the cops and prosecutors. Public defenders rarely hear their voice in the media. I wasn’t sure how to play this character. It’s really opened my eyes to these amazing people who are really doing this for no money to help the powerless. There are thousands of these fighters all across the country with a system that is incredibly stacked against them.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that again. It was a real eye-opener. One of the biggest things I was shocked by was that these are the most passionate and brightest people that we have. They come from the best schools and are really trying to make a difference.
We really hate each other on the show but we really like each other on the set. She's great to work with. She brings an interesting quality to the character.
I cut my hair that’s about it. [laughs]
I don’t consider them risks. Those are the sports I’ve always done. With kids, you realize you are mortal and you take that into account.
I’m surprised at how big the show is – that it’s bigger now then when we were on the show. It’s great!
We’ve talked but each one of us is busy with our own things.
I don’t know – Jimmy Fallon has put it out there and we’ve discussed it. I’m going on his show June 8. And we’ll see what happens from there.