Looking forward to Lifetime’s upcoming “Saved By the Bell” biopic? Of course you are — we’re all going to wallow in that thing like pigs in slop.
But there’s one person who doesn’t plan to tune in: Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding on the series.
In an interview with TMZ, Haskins slammed the project, saying that it’s trumping up imaginary drama for the sake of the almighty dollar.
“I was there. I know what happened and didn’t happen. And there wasn’t time for a lot to happen behind the scenes, because the kids went to work in the morning, and then I came in at noon, we went to work in the afternoon, they were in and out of school, that kind of stuff,” Haskins recalled. “There just wasn’t any craziness, you know? It was like, yeah, people dated each other. Okay, so what?”
Haskins also criticized Dustin Diamond, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers on the series and serves as an executive producer on the biopic.
“Dustin, I worked with him 11 years, had a great relationship with Dustin. We became a team for ‘The New Class.’ But he just gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine. He said, ‘I didn’t really write all the stuff in the book [Diamond’s 2009 autobiography ‘Behind the Bell],’ which I haven’t read, but he’s executive producer of the movie, so he’s not taking responsibility for whatever’s coming out,” Haskins said. “So, who do you believe? The people that were there? Mario, Mark-Paul, Elisabeth, myself? Or somebody that says, ‘You know, I just got on the phone with a guy, and the next thing I know he wrote these things, I didn’t know he’d written them,’ and now he’s executive producer of a movie?”
Footage released so far for the unauthorized biopic depicts tension between the young castmates, with fights, bullying and back-biting running rampant behind the scenes. But Haskins says that the movie is playing fast and loose with the truth. Asked if the people behind the film were exaggerating for the sake of drama, he replied, “Your question was to me, ‘Are they trying to make something out of nothing to make some drama?’ What you left out was, ‘And to make some money.'”
And, no — Haskins won’t be among the movie’s viewers.
“No. I was there, I don’t need to watch it,” Haskins asserted. “I know what happened and didn’t happen.”
“The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story” premieres Sept. 1 on Lifetime. Until then, feel free to sit in on Mr. Belding’s lecture below.