From 1987 to 1995, Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron, Jodi Sweetin, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were part of TV’s most beloved family sitcom — Full House. The series followed a widowed father (Saget) raising his three young daughters with the help of his brother-in-law Jesse (Stamos) and best friend Joey (Coulier). After a 192-episode run, ABC pulled the plug, but their story was far from over.
Fast-forward to present day and you’ll find Saget’s edgy autobiography Dirty Daddy still garnering laughs, Netflix in production on the spinoff series Fuller House, and Lifetime telling the behind-the-scenes story of the stars and the series in its latest “Unauthorized” tele-pic.
We caught up with two of the actors taking on the real-life personalities behind their iconic characters in The Unauthorized Full House Story, premiering on Lifetime Saturday, Aug. 22. Playing Stamos is the handsome actor/singer/songwriter/underwear model (and Miley Cyrus ex) Justin Gaston, and bravely taking on the role of the wildly raunchy Saget is comedian/writer/director Garrett Brawith.
On comparisons to Lifetime’s first “Unauthorized” film, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.
Garrett Brawith: It’s going to be a little more cutthroat. … This is the real drama that’s going on behind the show. …They’ve got to go up onstage and make people laugh and at the same time their family members are dying, they’re getting divorces, there’s a lot of other things going on behind the scenes that we’re not aware of when we watch the show. … You know, I don’t know if there’s anything comparable. I wouldn’t compare it to the Saved by the Bell movie. That’s definitely, with all due respect to them, a step down from what this is. This is a lot better.
On the Full House movie storyline.
Brawith: It starts out in the mid ’80s where Bob Saget and Dave Coulier are doing standup together back in the clubs. It ends up spanning the entire period of time where they meet John Stamos, where the show becomes a success, all the way to sort of the resolution that occurs somewhere in the mid ’90s. It really does have a long stretch and so we constantly had to have that in mind. … The fact is it’s these three guys coming together as a family despite a lot of things that none of us would want to deal with in a situation that’s not always a good one.
Justin Gaston: It covers right before the show, and their lives and their careers leading up to the show. You know, John had done a soap opera, and then he had two other shows. Then Full House came along. It’s that time period, and the casting process, and then all the characters … it’s their life on the show, and then their personal lives. Trying to balance and juggle the two. Then it goes to just past the show.
On who they think brought the most drama to the set.
Brawith: It’s Bob. The other guys, Justin Mader and Justin Gaston, who are playing Dave Coulier and John Stamos, they have plenty of drama themselves. Bob Saget is just a lot more because it’s not a job he wanted [apparently Saget’s character was far too conservative for the comedian]. In fact he didn’t even want this role and I heard they offered it to Bob and he turned it down.
Gaston: There’s definitely some real moments. You see parts of their personal lives. There are a lot of funny moments. I think it’ll be a fun movie.
On whether the film is a realistic representation.
Brawith: Let me put it like this: Is it a realistic representation? I don’t know. I wasn’t really there. However, this isn’t Schindler’s List. It’s not Million Dollar Baby. My purpose isn’t to sort of make people really evaluate their lives through this movie — just to have fun and be entertained in a story that at least I found interesting and characters that I think we’ve all sort of come to love.
Gaston on playing Stamos:
It’s already tough to play a person, much less a beloved character like Uncle Jesse. It was interesting to try and study both of them. John Stamos, and then the character. How he was on the show and off the show, so it was fun.
On the likelihood of the movie featuring Jesse singing “Forever.”
Gaston: There is some singing, but I don’t think they could do “Forever” or anything like that, which I love that song and that video. It’s so good, but I wasn’t able to do that. There’s a couple of songs … like Jesse and the Rippers moments, that will be in the movie that you’ll get to see. … There’s some moments of Jesse and Becky. The final episode, I think that’s a pretty good one.
On Stamos almost being Uncle Adam instead of Uncle Jesse.
Gaston: Yeah, that was interesting. I didn’t realize that it was Uncle Adam before. I’m not 100 percent sure on how that actually came about. There was actually another interesting thing that I didn’t realize: Through the first season his last name was different. It wasn’t Katsopolis, it was Cochran. … There is a scene where I’m talking to Jeff Franklin, the creator, and we are discussing the show and the character and a few ideas that John has about the show, and the name is mentioned. Then, yeah, it sort of becomes, which you can see in the trailer, Adam to Jesse.
Brawith on playing Saget:
I really wanted to be crass and insulting and sharp. Let’s just say I had to tone it down.
Brawith on ever being confused for Bob Saget:
No, not once. In fact, in the casting people’s credit, they did something that you rarely see, which is allow you to stretch out. When I walked in I had sort of dirty blond hair, it was short and I didn’t think I looked at all like Bob Saget but apparently they did. I’ve done standup in the past and worked a lot in drama and comedy so I think it was a good fit for them. So do I hear I look like him? Not once ever, and if I do, I will probably never get laid again. You can quote me on that.
On what he found revealing/shocking.
Brawith: There were a couple of jokes that made me giggle out loud and you know I’m a big fan of shock humor, too, so … I like to make people laugh and then have them stop and say, “Should I be laughing at this?” “No, you should not be laughing at this, and you know it.” When I originally read the script, I was actually surprised at how good it was. You never know what to expect and in this case I was smiling the whole way through it, even through the drama. I’d compare it to something like Jurassic World.
Wait, Jurassic World?
Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Yeah, especially the part where Bob Saget fights the dinosaur.
Yeah, I don’t really remember that in Full House.
No, it was there. It was a lost episode.
On what the real cast might think of the film.
Brawith: I don’t know what they’re going to think. I read some tweets and saw a couple of cast reactions. … I think it’s fair to say I’m not going to receive any fruit baskets or bouquets of flowers or anything.
Gaston: I really hope [Stamos] likes it. I tried my best to make him proud, so I hope he likes it.
>>>The Unauthorized Full House Story airs on Lifetime Aug. 22 at 8pm<<<
Photos Credit: Scott Schafer and Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime