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Mark-Paul Gosselaar's DMOC Interview

What's your real hair color?

I had to dye my hair blond for six years on "Saved by the Bell", and that wasn't my natural hair color. My natural hair color when I was ten years old was blond, but then it sort of got dark, and they kept it that way. After the show, I sort of kept it up for a while, and then I did a movie where I had to play a homeless guy where they wanted my hair blond in the beginning, and dark at the end to disguise myself. After that, I said I'm going to dye my hair black just for the hell of it; You know, I wasn't working at the time, and I see these actors nowadays dying their hair blond, so I decided to be different and make it black. And they liked it for this movie. Now this is the way it's going to be for a new show I'm doing for Warner Bros.

Can you tell us a little about that show?

Yeah, it's a cool little show. It's written by a guy that was a writer on "Thirty-Something." It's called "Hyperion". It's a one-hour drama for WB. It's about a guy who's successful in the computer industry, and decides to move back to his home town and build a factory there, and sort of iron things out with his relationship with his dad and his brother. He wasn't the most popular guy in school, he was sort of a computer geek kind of guy. He's sort of going back just to show everyone back home that he is successful, so it's a pretty cool concept.. Especially playing someone my age, 24, 25. It's going to be the first time I'm actually playing my age, which is kinda cool. I'm not going back to high school or college. Not that I mind, but it's a little easier to play your own age. You don't feel like you're making a jackass out of yourself.

Was it hard to move past "Saved by the Bell"?

It was, it really was. It's been five years since I've been off the show. It took three years before I started working again, before I started doing movies of the week, and stuff like that. I was doing a lot of stuff that went straight to shelf, thank god. I'd walk into a room, and they'd say, "Oh, you're the guy from "Saved by the Bell", that campy show. You couldn't possibly be an actor, or act your way out of a paper bag." But, it was really trying... I had to walk into the room and show them that I could do the material they asked me to do. It was tough.

Did Alan allow you to have a lot of free rein?

Yeah, Alan was great. He's a take whore; he loves takes. It was to the point where we said, "Alan, we can't do this anymore." But what that allowed us to do was find out what was funny, and what wasn't. We did one version like Alan, one way the script was written, and one way that we wanted to do it. And probably eight different ways the grips wanted us to do it. Especially on a comedy, I think there should be lots of ways because everybody has a different sense of humor. It was good to do more takes.

What was your transition like from TV to film?

You know, it was weird. Being away from home for so long was weird. And working on the same thing for three months was odd. Doing a page a day was weird; on "Saved by the Bell" we were shooting a show a day. One day we worked a 21-hour day; it was ridiculous. But it was neat, because you are traveling, and you work for three months, but then you get three months off to do whatever you want.

You mentioned you were happy that it was an "R" movie. Why is that?

Because everything I'd ever done was "G" rated. It was nice to actually swear on the set. It was like, "Ooh, I can say that?" We weren't allowed to swear on the "Saved by the Bell" set. We were very restricted. It had to be a very clean show, all the way around. And that's just not the way I am. I can curse like the rest of them. It was nice for an R rating. And I knew that they would not try to candy-coat it. They weren't trying to go for the mainstream public. They were going for a certain audience. If it was PG-13, they probably would have made a lot more money, because more people could go see it. But this is the style of the movie, and I'm glad it got an R.