John Stamos and I have a mutual friend who does penis tricks. By “penis tricks,” I am referring to this particular acquaintance’s habit of dropping his pants at parties and forming his privates into various unexpected and admittedly impressive shapes. “Have you seen the Hamburger?” Stamos asks me as we stroll through the sprawl of the Warner Bros. back lot. I nod, and Stamos immediately shoots me a grin conveying that thanks to our mutual pal and his unlikely talent, we’re now friends as well.

For a moment I’m awed by Stamos’s nonchalance—as if discussing penis tricks is the most ordinary thing in the world. But after spending the next hour with him, his ease doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Here’s the thing about John Stamos: He’s completely, refreshingly open-minded, the kind of guy who is nonjudgmental about things like the public display of a penis, the kind of guy who has no reservations about taking on the role of a likable gay rights activist—despite being an actor best known for marrying a supermodel and making all the girls (and boys) swoon.

“John’s incredibly charming,” says Jim Fall, who directed Stamos in Wedding Wars [premiering Monday, December 11, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific], “which makes him the perfect conduit for the message of this movie.” A family comedy that manages to tackle the issue of same-sex marriage with light humor and a deft touch, the A&E feature stars Stamos as Shel, a wedding planner who impulsively decides to fight for his own right to marry after his brother—played by Grey’s Anatomy’s “McSteamy,” Eric Dane—becomes engaged to the daughter of a conservative governor.

“I didn’t want to make just another ‘gay’ movie,” explains Fall, whose debut feature was the gay indie Trick—and who married his boyfriend on the Wedding Wars set in Halifax, Canada. “I wanted to make a point and really say something, but subtly. I wanted to show both sides without vilifying anyone. I wanted to win people over with comedy—and who better to help with that than someone who has been coming into their living rooms for years now?”

It’s a savvy strategy. Take Full House’s sweet, hapless Uncle Jesse and General Hospital’s brooding, darkly handsome Blackie, and combine and transform the popular characters into a likable, smart, authentic gay man. Because of Stamos, Middle America will start watching and—fingers crossed—won’t be able to stop.

Former Full House costar Bob Saget, for one, will be watching. “I love John like he’s the sister I never had. Truly, he’s one of my best friends and has always, always been there for me,” Saget says. As for Stamos taking on such a role, Saget has no concerns. “He’s such a good actor. When researching his part for ER, he not only hung out in a lot of emergency rooms, but he literally performed four illegal surgeries. The patients didn’t even mind. They felt safe with him ’cause he was Jesse from Full House. He did two heart bypasses, one hip replacement, and a colonoscopy on a man named Gerald.”

Tags: television