It’s challenging enough to be convincing as an actor. Try being convincing as an actor playing a well-known actor.
The task is faced by any star of a behind-the-scenes dramatization of the making of a movie or a television series, and it’s now faced by the entire cast of Lifetime’s “The Unauthorized Full House Story,” debuting Saturday (Aug. 22). Tracing the production of the popular 1987-95 ABC sitcom about a widower whose pals help him raise his daughters, the film precedes the forthcoming Netflix sequel series “Fuller House,” which will reunite many of the original cast members.
Justin Gaston portrays John Stamos, who was “Uncle” Jesse Katsopolis on the original show, and he tells Zap2it the job was “tough, especially with such a beloved actor and beloved character. It can be nerve-racking, but I grew up loving the show and loving Uncle Jesse, so it was a pleasure to be able to play the character. I’ve probably seen every single episode.”
Stamos is prominent again for FOX's fall series "Grandfathered," and Gaston met him once.
"I ran into him at the Gibson Showroom [in Beverly Hills, Calif.] probably five or six years ago, and we talked for a minute. I got to see him play the drums [Stamos famously has toured with the Beach Boys], and it was pretty cool." Gaston also has been mistaken for Stamos, especially during "a year or two when I only wore white T-shirts. All my friends would just call me 'John Stamos.' "
Among others in the "Unauthorized Full House Story" cast: Garrett Brawith as Bob Saget; Justin Mader as Dave Coulier; and Stephanie Bennett as Lori Loughlin. And in the case of the show's Tanner children, each is represented by multiple actresses in younger and older years: Shelby Armstrong and Brittney Wilson as Candace Cameron; Dakota Guppy and Jordyn Olson as Jodie Sweetin; and no less than three sets of look-alikes as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen … Blaise and Kinslea Todd, Calla and Tyla Jones, and Kylie and Jordan Armstrong.
Luckily for the actors impersonating them, the "Full House" cast members had mostly genial connections. "From everything I researched, and even seeing them now, it seems like they still have a great relationship," says Gaston, who's looking forward to the "Fuller House" update. "I'm excited to see that as well."
Married to Melissa Ordway of CBS' "The Young and the Restless," Gaston has had a varied career. A "Nashville Star" contestant, he spent several months on NBC's "Days of Our Lives," co-starred in the online reality show "If I Can Dream" (with "Chicago Fire's" Kara Killmer, among others), appeared in the pilot for FOX's "Glee" and played Taylor Swift's romantic interest in the music video for her hit "Love Story."
"I've been out here in L.A. for a while, going at it," reflects Gaston, who also has some fame as an ex-boyfriend of Miley Cyrus. "It's coming up on nine years here."
After a similar movie about "Saved by the Bell" last year, Lifetime has "Unauthorized" re-creations of the making of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place" slated for October. In the case of "Full House," Gaston knows he and his co-stars are working against the fact that "people hold it so close. You grew up seeing it and seeing those characters, and you have such a good idea of what it is. I was one of those people myself, so you just do your best to honor and respect it."