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The New Normal Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The New Normal

This is an interview with guest star John Stamos on January 18, 2013 about the show The New Normal.

What was it like filming with the legendary Ellen Barkin?

John Stamos:
It was our first show where we had to kiss. But, we did the read through of the first episode and I felt like we're kind of cat and mousing each other and sort of circling each other. And after the retakes I said to Ryan, "What if I just grab in back of her hair and just make out?" And then everybody looked at Ryan and then he said, "Oh my God. That's a great idea." He looked at me. And then so I think it was the first night or so we did it, and I know Ryan likes kind of surprises, especially when he's directing. He's very spontaneous and he loves to kind of throw out jokes and ideas and stuff.

I've known him for so many years. And it's a great relationship with him. So I thought I'm going to stick my tongue down Ellen's throat because I want to elicit some sort of natural weird, surprise or fear or whatever she was going to show because it would have worked for the character. And the woman didn't flinch. It wasn't like, there was nothing happening. It was just like okay. Looks like a normal kiss. Cut. And then we go to lunch. I was hoping for something with Ellen. I think like what's the farthest thing you can touch in the back of a throat; the uvula or whatever it was. I know I hit it and she didn't even move.

Would that be most memorable part of filming?

John Stamos:
That was the early stuff. This whole thing was sort of presented to me as "Hey John, you're doing this" from Ryan. I said, "Oh, okay. Great. What am I doing?" Ryan is sort of the modern day Sinatra. Remember when Sinatra used to call Sammy Davis? I'm not comparing myself to them or Dean Martin or these guys. Oh by the way, you're doing a show on this night. And they go okay. What time do we get there.

It's sort of what Ryan is. And he's always been so good to me. And he also, he's also protected me in the stuff that I've done. Like he'll say, "I'm going go over and write you this. I'm going to write you that." And he always comes through for me. Always has. I've known him since right after Full House we talked about doing a show together.

But when Ellen and I started working together it was just this great chemistry and I think it was sort of set up where I would come on and do one, see if they like me and see if I like, work there. And then all of a sudden we did this great first episode and they were like, how about tomorrow. And I'm like, "I'm free. Let's do it."

And working with her, it's the most interesting relationship. I always sort of wanted to play a - she's not that much older than me but I wanted to play that sort of relationship where - what do you call it, spring, May, April, June. She's a tiny bit older than me but we don't talk about it. We don't do it. We just play it. And there's something fantastic when I look in her eyes. We just get great stuff.

What was it like kissing Ellen Barkin?

John Stamos:
Here's the truth. When you kiss on camera you can fake a French kiss. And most of the time you do and then you sort of just leave it up to the actress however she feels because it's just courtesy as a gentleman actor. I guess you open the door and if they want to walk into it, they walk and if they don't. With Ellen she was ready to play and we did and it wasn't written into the script so I think we just went for it. Just grabbed the back of her hair and in the episode I give her a makeover.

I think you guys have been hip to what the show's about where I come on and they don't know if I'm gay or straight. And the truth is who the hell knows. Maybe it was more defined 10, 15, 20 years ago if you were a florist or whatever, hair stylist, stereotypical crap. But in this case you just sort of can't tell and I think she's attractive and they have this game where they try to find out if I'm gay or not. And I'm hip to it so at the end I said if this game of yours is not entertaining or whatever, I leave.

And on the way out of the office I give her this great kiss. I said why don't you just do that if you want to find out if I'm gay or not; is that okay and then just kind of walk away from her. And she's laughing. We've done three episodes now, two, three and she plays two. She plays this great scene that I've never seen her play and I asked her the other day. I said, have you ever played this. And she's like this kind of coquettish teenager when she's around Bryce. And it's a bit sweet to see Ellen do that.

But man what an actress. We lock in, we look at each other's eyes and then we just go and it's the easiest and kind of a - seriously the fastest chemistry I've had with someone in a long time on television.

Matt Bomer and you have both been on Glee and The New Normal. Have you been trying to talk to Ryan to also get on American Horror Storyto be on all three shows?

John Stamos:
I haven't but I'm going to call him right after this.

Was there anything about your role that wasn't originally scripted for you that you felt added to the character?

John Stamos:
There was the kiss that we put in and stuff but the character. I was thinking about it because of my schedule we had to postpone the opening two gigantic scenes that are airing this week and that's next week on Tuesday until yesterday. So it was interesting. So I already played through the character and sort of his result and where he ends up being not gay. This is a modern world and just because a guy wears a bracelet or is into hair processing and culture and fashion doesn't make him gay.

Just as I say that my gay hair stylist walks by and goes, "Here, here" you know. But I sort of played through all that. And then I had to go back to the beginning yesterday and play the guy from the start and I've never played that guy.

I've never played a guy who you couldn't tell where he was at because again nowadays I mean it's so unfair and I think that's the point of the episode, which is Gaydar. That doesn't work anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with it and sometimes I go oh, great. They think I'm gay. That's cool. The rules don't apply anymore. And I think that's what we were trying to get at. So I had to come on and play this guy that you didn't know what he was. And I've never done that. It was a very difficult line to walk because as it turns out he's not gay.

I had to sort of give the impression that I was but I didn't want to play into any of the stereotypes of whatever stereotypical things there are that people think of gay men and women. I asked the director too. I said, "I need some time to find this guy today because this is very important. Because that's the point of the episode and maybe some of the overall themes of the show that you can't just point to people and go you're this, you're that.

And I wanted to get it right. And thankfully they gave me the right amount of time. And I really gave it a lot of thought because I care about it and I don't want to be flip. I don't want to be simple about it because it's not.

There's such great chemistry between all of the cast members. Was it instant for you when you began working with them?

John Stamos:
Yes. They're really good. I have to be honest. I didn't watch the show a lot before. But I knew it was good and I knew the acting was good and I didn't realize how good it was until I got down there and the writing. And it's a very well run show.

And it's sort of exciting because I mean I know it's not like Glee that was getting ready to blast over the whole world and stuff. I still feel a little bit of what I felt when I jumped onto Glee, they have something here. They have something important and they have something important to say. And Ryan once again put the right people together to get the right message out.

Obviously you know you're surrounded by so many funny people on set. Who cracked you up the most and made you laugh while you were there?

John Stamos:
Nene is very funny. I wasn't familiar with that show, the housewife show and then I think it was the night before there was another very pretty girl on the show and our show runner Ali who I've fallen in love with. I don't care. I'm going to say it loud and proud right now. I am in love with Ali. We email each other like all night. All night last night. I was walking by and she had Nene and this other really pretty girl and she said, "Come in here and get a picture."

So we were taking pictures and stuff. But Nene, I've seen naturally funny people in the past unlike Bob Saget, but this girl is funny.

Now other than the kiss, what was your kind of your favorite scene or the one that you're most excited to share? Like is there anything with Nene that you have?

John Stamos:
We had a little bit in the first episode. She's telling Ellen's character Jane how to get me. And she sort of talks her through on the phone and in the first couple of episodes. At one point she says, "Just ask him out" and so comes up and she asks me out and she has the phone in her pocket. And I said, "Oh yeah, I'd like to go out with you again." And you can hear Nene's voice going, "Yeah girl. Get him" and in her pocket.

I think it was my first day and we were all working together. My first day was the whole cast at a table, we were eating. And they're all of them are really, really funny.

And it was interesting, I made a joke about Full House the other day and I don't know if you read it but I'll say it again, which was sort of true but not. I am shocked and proud of what we can do on TV nowadays. It's come a long way. And whatever that 25 years ago of seeing Full House. I was sort of kind of relating. They asked me they said, "What's the difference between this show and sitcoms and the show you did 25 yeas ago?" And I said, "Well, three men in San Francisco raising kids, no difference." But the truth is I thought that was funny. I loved it. I mean it's dramatically different.

And that's why I wanted to do this show because you can go on and say things and do things that you couldn't. I remember sort of emailing with Ryan the first week saying let me be the straight advocate. Let me be it because that's how I am in real life. Let me just talk the way that I talk. And let me say that I love people for who they are, not what they are.

I don't say that exactly but let me be that guy that's not sort of pushing the agenda down anyone's throat. Not that they do. But let me just be easy with it. And I think it's a well-written character in the sense that I can be that guy. And I think especially with Jane's character who still has phobias and that Archie Bunker thing that she has. I think it got slowed down a little bit or quelled and then when I came on, she starts it up again and I'm now the one to kind of tell her that that's not cool.

But the way that they're writing me is just the way that I would say to somebody. And it's not hey, now don't you make fun of homosexuals, with my finger in their face. It's just a guy who, who treats everybody the say way if they're a good person. It doesn't matter what they are. And if they're a bad person, I would treat them that way.

Why is it that John Stamos never ages?

John Stamos:
I live in a box with oxygen, like Michael when he passed away and they had that auction of all his stuff. You didn't see it on there but he had this oxygen tank that he lived in like a oxygen box, like a coffin thing. And he would sleep in this thing and they would pump oxygen in. And that's what I sleep in.

I don't know. Truthfully I'm very flattered when people say that. And you have to be careful to not like play into it because then you get this Peter Pan syndrome going on. Right. I'm 30. I can do anything. I'm not. So I think good genes and truthfully I do take care of myself in a sense. You know what I do probably the most is I sleep a lot. I get a lot of sleep and rejuvenation. So I try to go to bed early. I always felt that the hours before midnight, 1 o'clock were the most important sleeping hours for me. So I go to bed, 9:00 or 10:00 and I get up at 5:00 or 5:30, 6:00.

Do you work out a lot? Is that also part of it?

John Stamos:
I've done just about everything. I'm not a super weightlifting guy. I've been doing pilates lately, which I think is just a big ploy to get me in those straps with my legs up because I'm the only guy in the class. And I've got my legs in place. I felt like I'm giving birth or they're going to do a pap smear or something.

I put my ankles in these things and I said, "You're making this exercise up, aren't you?" They said, "No, no. It's the platypus, it's the platypus, no. Seriously. Lay down, put your legs in the air. Ignore those 30 women looking. Right. This is what we do here." But I know they're trying to make me look silly. I just know it. The platypus. Whoever heard of that?

Would you ever consider doing your show full time again? Is that something you want to do?

John Stamos:
Of course. Television is a whole new landscape. And that's why I did this show because some of my people say maybe this isn't the show for you because the ratings aren't so good and would hold you off. I said, "No, no, no. I get this show. I like this show. And I have not played this character before." So I think what I'm getting at is when you find a good character and you got to go for it.

Ryan and I have had a great relationship for years. When he asks me to do stuff, I do it because I'm proud of being on his shows. I'm proud of him. I knew him, before all these big shows happened. he came to me originally right after Full House with a show about three hookers that would fix marriages like Charlie's Angels but they were hookers. And it was a little too much for me at the time. But looking back, I'm like wow. I should have done that. And then I know I'm probably one of five guys that say this but he offered me Nip Tuck and I didn't to that.

And so after that when I was what, when Ryan calls me, I'm going to do what he wants me to do because he's way ahead of me like he knows what people want. And he knows how to push the envelope. He knows how to make people think. He knows how to make people think about themselves. And I should be working with this guy because God forbid if he ever passed away.I'm saying this in all sincerity. I mean this guy runs three shows, two pilots. He's got three movies over here and when you're in a room with him it's just astonishing.

They should donate his brain to science at some point. I mean I'm not make a joke about this. My mouth is open when I see him. Like I'm just amazed at what this man can do. We should - people should study this guy because he is a genius.

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