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New Kid in
By Deborah Wagner
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
December 10, 2006.
For John Stamos, a two-episode gig on ER
last season has turned into somewhat of a re-birth for his career. Now a
full time cast member, Stamos has breathed some new life and enthusiasm
into the award-winning hospital drama; which is
in its thirteenth season. Stamos is also branching out in his
us a little more of himself in other recent parts like A&Eís TV movie
Stamos has undoubtedly grown and matured into a pretty fine actor since
first debuting on General Hospital as Blackie Parrish back in
1981. Now with Full Houseís Uncle Jesse and the mullet far in his
past, this 43 year-old actor is busier than ever, without a lot of down
time between shooting ER, making movies, specials and continuing to
rock on his side gig as sometime drummer with the Beach Boys.
With an impressive career that has spanned over 25 years, Stamos has
mastered many avenues of entertainment. However, in spite of the
attention and acclaim (and being voted Peopleís Sexiest Man Alive),
Stamos doesnít let it go to his head. Heís funny, friendly,
and enjoying the fruits of a long, successful career.
John, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Where are you?
I am in Philadelphia.
Ohhhhhh... the home of Bob Saget!
Yes, the home of Bob Saget. (Laughs) Actually, I live in
Abington which I believe is where he grew up.
Oh really? You know, you guys should erect some kind of sign or something
as you drive in saying "Bob Saget Country."
How about Sagetville? We'll just change the name from Abington to
(Laughs) Yeah, Sagetville. That's funny. That would be perfect!
Actually, his picture is up in my favorite Chinese Restaurant.
Oh really, WOW! Fascinating. (Laughs) What is this interview for?
This is for PopEntertainment.com. It's a web magazine. And we have
hundreds of different interviews on there including a few
past and present ER cast member stories.
Are you guys fans of ER?
cool. So, what do you want to talk about?
I guess weíll start
way, way back.... You obviously started as an actor on
playing Blackie Parrish.
God, how long ago was that? 25 years ago, I think.
Yeah, it was. Itís
often said that soaps are stepping stones and great training for actors.
Do you feel you learned a lot about acting from the show?
did, yeah. First and foremost you learn discipline. Youíve got to be
there everyday and thereĎs a lot of dialogue. When the character started
to get popular, I was learning 30 pages a day of dialogue or something.
Youíd have to go through every emotion in one hour; sad, mad, crying, up
and down, all over. So, for that it was good. I was very fortunate to
break out and do other things. I think it can get detrimental if you stay
on those shows too longÖ but I did learn a lot.
Another early role for
you was Full
House which was a light comedy. Now, you are doing serious
drama. Which one is more of a challenge for you as an actor?
Well, somebody in a movie said that dying is easy, comedy is hard. Comedy
is really hard. It was hard maybe coming off of Jake in Progress,
which I did last year [and going straight to ER.] The Tony Gates
character has a sense of humor which I really like. I think one of my
jobs on ER is to add a little levity to the show. But, they are
both hard and theyíre both challenging.
Whatís it like entering
an award winning TV drama already in its thirteenth season, and youíre the
new guy in town?
Ahhhh yeah... The NFG is what they called me for awhile.
The NFG, huh?
Yeah, the New F-iní Guy. (laughs) You know itís really been a
highlight of my career. Itís hands down Ė and I hate to sound, whatever Ė
but itís my favorite job Iíve ever had. I love it. They were great. I
came into it hopefully with a humble eye and someone who wanted to learn
and kinda play by the way they work Ė which coincided with the way I like
to work, so it was just kind of a natural fit. One of the things that I
am most proud of on that show is how when I see it I look like I donít
stick out. I think I do fit in. It was just the right time for me to be
in the show. So itís all been a great experience.
seems like a very fast-paced show with a lot going on and a lot of
technical terms to learn. Is it hard to keep up to speed?
Yes! (Laughs) When you see it, a lot of it is shot in one take.
Sometimes they do two pages and youíll have one line at the end of it.
The whole time youíre thinking of your line, thinking of your line. But,
I like to work that way. I like to work under pressure and I think my
spending time in the theater has helped with that too. You have one shot
to get it right.
ER character Tony
Gates is a likeable, flirtatious med student who seems to rebel against
authority and makes his own decisions. Are there any similarities with
the real John Stamos?
Iím not as rebellious as him. Yeah, Tony is a fully loaded character, I
like to say. You know, I like that they started him off with flaws and
trouble. He does have a dark past and is a bit of a bad boy and that he
questions authority. I mean, I think it does come naturally questioning
some of the authority in that show, because he comes in as an intern, yet
he has as much experience as all of them in there. You know, heíd been in
the Persian Gulf War.
Do you foresee the
story line continuing with you butting heads with Dr. Pratt
think that kind of smoothes out a little bit and it turns into more of the
relationship stuff. Iím dealing with my buddyís widow. Iíve been taking
care of her and her daughter and now I have this budding relationship with
Neelaís character. Thatís kind of where my story is focusing right now Ė
having to deal with those two entities.
Do you have any say in
the direction your character is taking?
You know, we talk about it and Iím in such good hands with this writing so
Iím not into it much. But sure, I meet with them once in a while and we
talk about the character. Early on, it was interesting, I met with the
writers and we just painted some broad strokes which have all kinda come
true about who he is. So, yeah we do talk about what kind of guy he is.
I spoke to them specifically about what kind of guy I wanted to play. I
think heís more of a guyís guy than Iíve played before. We started with
that, a flawed kind of everyday guy which has been different for me.
Do you have any dream
storyline that you would like to see Tony involved in?
love the stuff that they are writing. Not to be a kiss ass (laughs)
but thereís some really interesting stuff going on, again with the Meg
character and her daughter and Parminder [Nagra, who
plays Neela]. I mean there is going to be a
real big train wreck coming up pretty soon which will be a lot of fun to
do so I just love it.
Yeah. It really is.
and really enjoyed it. Itís a funny, cute movie about a very serious
subject. Your character was very passionate about gay marriages. What is
it like to take on such a serious subject?
Well, I think it was just time for me to start having a point of view as a
person. I kind of grew up being told not to talk about religion and
politics. Donít piss anybody off. Just kind of go down the middle. But
you know, as Iím growing up I realized that I have something to say and I
do have a point of view. So this is a good way to do it without going out
and standing on a soap box somewhere. I can just play this guy, play this
character and kind of let that represent what I feel.
Do you think itís
easier to make a lighter movie like this when youíre talking about such a
Yeah. Well, I think in this case it helps because it makes it easier to
Youíre not hitting
someone over the head with it.
Exactly. I think thatís why it was important that they used somebody like
me in this role. Hopefully I can help get people to watch and stay with
it that maybe normally wouldnít watch a movie like that. But itís an
important issue obviously and that itís a good way to present it.
When itís just about
equality, why do you think that so many people are still opposed to gay
Ummmm, I donít know. I just donít know. I think that they probably just
donít understand it and maybe this movie will help.