Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Schoolboy

As a part of the publicity process, movie companies frequently hold what are called junkets, in which groups of journalists are flown to luxurious hotels in famous cities (usually New York or Los Angeles) and given a per diem (usually in excess of $100) while they attend screenings and interview movie people. This allows them to rub shoulders with fame, eat like kings, drink like fish, and tip like eccentric dowagers (good luck in law school, Manuel!) while struggling to maintain journalistic integrity. One recent junket, for MTV Films' new Dead Man On Campus, allowed The Onion to answer a burning question: What's up with Saved By The Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar these days? Gosselaar co-stars in DMOC and can soon be seen in the WB TV series Hyperion. At a round-table interview, Gosselaar spoke to The Onion about a variety of subjects.

The Onion: The Official Mark-Paul Gosselaar Website lists your favorite musical acts as Paula Abdul and Color Me Badd. Do you still find that to be true?

Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yeah... It's actually Hanson and Backstreet Boys now. I'm kidding. [Laughs.] I do know all the Hanson names, which is pretty scary. Paula Abdul? I don't like her. And I don't like... Was it Color Me Badd?

O: Yeah. So you weren't lobbying to get Paula Abdul and Color Me Badd on the Dead Man On Campus soundtrack?

MPG: No, no. Maybe like Linda Ronstandt or something, but not that. That's on the official website? Because I gave this girl the authority to use the official website, and she was very professional.

O: It's a very professional website.

MPG: It is, but Paula Abdul... There are so many rumors. Like, there's a rumor that I'm dead or I'm dying or whatever, these great rumors that I'm a drug addict, that I'm gay, that I'm this. It doesn't bother me. Whatever they say, it's fine by me. It doesn't affect my personal life.

O: You did a movie with Soleil Moon Frye. Did you two commiserate about being identified with the same character for...

MPG: Oh, man. You had to bring that one up, didn't you? That's a great movie. I don't even know the title of the movie. That's how bad it was. [It's Twisted Love, starring Lisa Dean Ryan as an overlooked high-school misfit who kidnaps an injured football hero and holds him captive a la Misery. Cast against type, Gosselaar plays a bad boy. Clint Howard also stars. —ed.]

O: If I remember correctly, you really weren't in it too much.

MPG: Yeah, that's good. I got killed in that one, right?

O: I think so. It was kind of late when I was watching it.

MPG: I love that shit. I love when guys come up to me and they're like, "Dude, we saw you in this sci-fi thing. You suck." [Laughs.] And then you have to explain yourself: "I did it for the money. I wasn't stable at that time. My agent told me not to do it, but I did it." They don't care. Working with Soleil... I actually worked on Punky Brewster, so we were friends before that. I think she's doing well now. She's directing stuff and writing. It's neat to see child actors working, because everyone says that once you get to a certain point, you're sort of done and finished with. I think it's changing now. It's really helping now with all these other actors doing movies. Their success helps out my success.

O: A lot of our readers are college students. You've worked on Dead Man On Campus and a number of other college-themed projects. Is there anything they can learn from Mark-Paul Gosselaar's college projects?

MPG: How to properly load a bong. When to pull the carb... I've done four college things. One was Saved By The Bell; another one was where I played a rapist. So what can you pick up from that? What not to do. How not to pick up chicks. Then I played a college journalist who got his ass kicked quite a bit. So, maybe in college, [you should] learn some kind of martial arts so you don't get your ass kicked. Then, with Dead Man, how to get out of being in a bind. Have a really insane roommate. College... In a sense, I wish I could have gone. Because I would have liked to experience some of the things that the characters I've played experienced, and seen for myself up close if it really happens. I've got to give credit to people that go to college. Because your first year has got to be a horrific experience. Living with someone you don't know, and going to these classes... I don't envy it. It's like [director] Alan [Cohn] was saying: You might have this right-wing military guy, and the next guy won't come out of his room and smokes pot all day. And you have to deal with these people. You're all put into this one environment. They'll get a lot out of this movie. There are certain things in this movie where I think a lot of kids will go, "Oh, yeah, we've done that in school."

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