NEW YORK – Greek-American actor John Stamos was not initially enthused about playing a basketball coach on his new show, Big Shot, according to a report in the New York Post on April 16.
“I was a band geek in school, I’m a band geek now — I never played sports, I didn’t watch sports,” Stamos, 57, told the Post. “It was harder for me to learn basketball lingo than medical lingo when I was on ‘ER’ playing a doctor, I’m not kidding.”
Big Shot premiered on April 16 on Disney+. The sports dramedy series features Stamos as Marvyn Korn, “a men’s college basketball coach who ends up having to work at an all-girls private high school as a last resort after his temper costs him his NCAA job — much to his dismay,” the Post reported.
“I got a call from my agent saying, ‘You’re getting an offer on the new David Kelley show,’” said Stamos, the Post reported. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I love David Kelley! Am I playing a lawyer, is it like one of those dark characters on ‘Big Little Lies?’ And they were like, ‘It’s a show about basketball.’ And my heart just sunk. Of all things! I said, ‘I’m a player?’ and they said, ‘No, you’re a coach.’ And I said, ‘OK, great … what does a coach do?’”
Stamos then “dove into research,” he told the Post, “spending time with NBA legend Jerry West, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.”
“He told me it’s called ‘practice,’ not ‘rehearsal,’” Stamos told the Post.
Of the character, Stamos also told the Post that “it was nothing like anything I had ever done, and it was nothing like me. He’s unlikable, he’s not a people person, he has no charm.”
“Once he was on set, Stamos decided the best way to inhabit the crotchety coach was to keep to himself,” the Post reported.
“I had no outside interaction with the cast. I didn’t want to know the girls very well, I wanted to learn about the girls as Marvyn did. It was hard for me, because that’s not how I usually work,” he told the Post.
“Eventually, Stamos nailed it enough to impress Jerry West, as well as one of his idols: Howard Stern,” the Post reported.
“I was getting texts from a New York number I didn’t recognize, and I got one that said, ‘Pick up, it’s Howard and Beth,’” he told the Post. “And I FaceTimed them, and they just went on and on about how much they liked the show. He’s a hero of mine and a friend and someone I admire.”
Stamos “occupies a rare space in Hollywood, since he’s been prominent for several decades with a host of hit shows under his belt (General Hospital, ER, Full House, You) and he hasn’t seen setbacks or faded into obscurity like many stars of ’80s and ’90s shows,” the Post reported, adding that “he attributes his industry longevity to his attitude.”
“I think the days of being a prima donna are out the door — the days of like, ‘I’m not coming out of my trailer!’ If someone does that, it’s like, ‘OK, next!’” he told the Post. “There’s so many actors and actresses out there that need work.”
“He gets it, in part, from lessons he learned from his father, the late restaurateur Bill Stamos,” the Post reported.
“My dad was a big influence on me in many things. My dad had restaurants, and he would treat the busboy in the back room washing dishes the exact same way he would treat his best customer. I sort of try to keep that,” he told the Post.
Stamos’ son Billy (with actress/model wife Caitlin McHugh, 34) is 3 years old, and “staying at home with the toddler, who is named after Stamos’ father, has been the silver lining of the past pandemic year,” he told the Post.
“I never would have imagined that I’d get this much time with him. But also, it really hits home what’s important and what isn’t important. Obsessing over your career to me is one of those things that I realize is not as important during this time,” Stamos said, the Post reported.
“But mainly I’m watching kids’ shows with him … It sure makes you go like, ‘Oh man, I’m glad I paid attention to the kind of television I did that was geared towards children.’ Because it is a bit of a responsibility,” said Stamos, referring to his long-running stint as Jesse Katsopolis on Full House (1987-1995), the Post reported.
On being an older dad at age 57, Stamos told the Post, “I’m glad that I have time and energy and patience to spend time with a 3-year-old right now and I don’t have to worry about my career as much or money, or things that a lot of people have to deal with. I’m very lucky and grateful.”