The Lifetime TV movie The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, which traces the real personal lives of the Nineties sitcom cast, is set to premiere September 1st at 9 p.m. In the meantime, Bayside devotees can get their early fix with this exclusive clip, which features young heartthrob Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Dylan Everett) sharing a near-kiss with Lark Voorhies (Taylor Russell McKenzie) while gazing from a rooftop.
The pair appear to be taking a break from filming, as smooth-talking Mark-Paul tries to mack on his co-star, unveiling a birthday present he bought for her. But he gets temporarily shut down when Lark mentions that, as a Jehovah’s Witness, she doesn’t celebrate birthdays. “Being on the show has opened my eyes to so many new things,” Lark says, prompting some dramatic camera angles and a kiss lean-in that’s interrupted by an apologetic Elizabeth Berkley (Tiera Skovbye).
The film will focus on the cast members’ personal challenges as they struggle to grow up and maintain an A-list image as the show skyrockets to success. The made-for-TV melodrama will also feature Sam Kindseth as Dustin “Screech” Diamond, Julian Works as Mario Lopez and newcomer Alyssa Lynch as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
Though Diamond’s 2009 memoir, Behind the Bell, included details of supposed behind-the-scenes sex and drugs, Buzzfeed reports that the film was based on information obtained during lengthy new interviews.
The real Gosselaar recently expressed his frustration with Diamond’s book in an interview with HuffPost Live, saying, “It is negative. That I must say. Everything I’ve heard about his book is it is negative. I don’t remember those things. My experience on the show was very positive.” Breckin Meyer, Gosselaar’s co-star on Franklin & Bash, added that Diamond is “such a dick.”
Diamond fired back in an interview with the Daily Beast: “A lot of people do that for ratings — I don’t know what his reason was for,” the former Screech said of Meyer. “But he even said, ‘I’ve never met Dustin.’ So how can he say these things when he’s never met me? We’ve never shared a conversation. We’ve never met face to face. We’ve never been in the same room. That makes me judge someone, personally.”
He also spoke about The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (on which he’s serving as an executive producer), noting that the film won’t dwell on behind-the-scenes decadence or scandal. “No, it’s definitely going to be in a positive light,” he said. “It’s not out to trash anybody or put anybody down or make anybody look in a negative way. That was never the intent, so it’s definitely not the way it’s going to end up.”