How Saved by the Bell’s Mitchell Hoog and Belmont Cameli forged their own path in revival
In the upcoming Peacock series, Hoog plays Mac Morris, the son Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) from the original series. Cameli stars as Jamie Spano, also the son of an original character, Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley Lauren).
Debuting on Nov. 25, the revival opens with Governor Zack Morris closing down working-class high schools in a controversial move, leading to students from Douglas High to be transferred to Bayside High. Both Mac and Jamie are welcoming to the new group of students, though they are forced to face their privilege.
Hoog and Cameli spoke to EW about bringing to life the children of Bayside High royalty and what fans can expect from them throughout the show’s debut season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Mitchell and Jamie, tell me about your characters and what we can expect from them this season.
MITCHELL HOOG: I play Mac Morris and I'm very similar to Zack. I pull pranks to get attention but I don't think it's out of actually trying to get at people. It's kind of [him] trying to cure this luxurious boredom that I get from my dad being governor and having a lot of privilege and white privilege and abusing that. Then people come in and I get new friends that show me that I can use it for the better. So I stay the same but I'm using it for a different reason throughout the series.
BELMONT CAMELI: Jamie is a very protected kid. His mom is the student feelings counselor at Bayside and she has instilled in him a lot of those wonderful Jessie Spano qualities that we remember from the original show. Jamie, over the course of the season, will have to confront some uncomfortable truths about his reality since he's kind of been sheltered from a lot. And the new Douglas students are going to be a great way to facilitate some growth and vice versa, as well.
Mitchell, were you familiar with the original?
I knew about it but I did not ever watch it as a kid. Number one, my family wasn't really big into watching TV. So I was never really exposed to a lot of shows but I was familiar with it. Then once I got this, I went back and I had to make myself familiar with a couple of the eggs that Tracey Wigfield, our showrunner, did a beautiful job putting in the script intertwining with this new world. But I didn't actually watch the series or binge it once I got the role because I didn't want to copy anything that Mark did back in the original because he did an incredible job. I feel like this is not me trying to fill shoes but it's kind of making my own shoes.
Belmont, does it help or hinder Jamie having his mom around all the time?
It does a lot of good! Jamie's really reliant upon his mother for solace and a lot of other things. It's probably a good thing they're super close, literally. Although, it can maybe be a little suffocating for Jamie at times because I think he needs a little room to grow. That relationship is really interesting because there's the at-home relationship and then there's the in-school relationship and it's all too familiar. I'm sure Jamie is glad she's around especially when he's upset because he needs snacks! [Laughs] Except for those times Slater [Mario Lopez] steals my snacks!
Mitchell, Zack and Jessie were best friends. What insight can you share about the dynamic between Mac and Jamie?
It goes sour at times but I don't think there's ever any crude intentions to it. I think it goes sour because it gives us something to do. Plus it's drama and it amuses us. But I don't think it's ever truly to the point that we hate each other. It's similar to what Mark and Mario created back then. I feel like they egg each other on in a different way where I feel like Mac and Jamie kind of level each other out.
Belmont, can you share what it was like recreating that famous scene from the Saved by the Bell episode called "The Fight"?
The scene was so much fun because essentially, Jamie and Mac are inadvertently reminding Slater of his unfortunate loneliness. [Laughs] That moment was really cool for the three of us to film that scene! Those fights used to happen quite often between Slater and Zack, so he could see himself mirrored in us. So Slater gets on his soapbox trying to explain away our problems. Eventually, Mac and Jamie come to some realizations like that they shouldn't even be fighting and that Slater probably doesn't even know what he's talking about!
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