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USA Network’s original hit series, Psych premiere’s its fourth season this Friday August 7th at 10/9c. Recently I had a chance to participate in a group interview with the stars of the show James Roday and Dulé Hill to discuss the new season, some funny pop culture references and whatever craziness lives in the minds of this funny and talented duo.
EM: You’ve both played very different characters in other things. I know that Mr. Roday had actually played alongside to Maggie Lawson in Fear Itself and Mr. Dulé you had a wonderful part on WEST WING for a while. So how do you feel now about playing comedy? Do you enjoy it better; do you like doing horror or drama more? How does it feel?
Dulé Hill: I actually enjoy comedy; it’s a lot of fun. After doing seven years of drama on WEST WING to be able to come and work with Roday and the rest of the cast has been a blast. It’s something different, especially working with Roday where he likes to improv a lot it challenges me to work on different muscles that I haven’t used before.
James Roday: Well, first of all I just want to thank you for reminding me that I did in fact appear in Fear Itself; I often forget that. Secondly, I would say I’ve actually done a lot more comedy than I’ve done drama. It’s weird the way that worked out, because when I came out of theater school I took myself way too seriously, so it’s kind of ironic that I ended up sort of going down the comedy path.
But I think what makes this role special compared to some of the other stuff that I’ve done is just the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to live with it so long and sort of watch it sort of grow and nurture it, not unlike you nurture a plant. And working with a great group and an unbelievable cast and sort of having the freedom to do what we do on the show sort of sets it apart from any role that I’ve played, comedy or drama. It’s just been a special ride. It’s been a special ride.
EM: This is for both of you; the show is known a lot for its kind of fast-paced banter between your characters Shawn and Gus. And so what I want to know is how much sort of say do you guys get in what goes on in the dialog, particularly between the humorous segments and something like the nicknames that Shawn makes up for Gus? What goes on with those types of moments?
James Roday: Unlike, I think, the majority of shows on television right now we actually have a frighteningly high amount of say in what we do with the dialog. A lot of times it comes in great and all we have to do is say it, but any time we sort of recognize an opportunity to throw something in or add something or if we have a better name for Gus than the one that came in we just pull the trigger.
We’re pretty good at monitoring ourselves so that we only do it if we’re making it better, and it’s very rare that we find out later that the people down in LA were disappointed because we changed something. They’re usually pretty pleased.
Dulé Hill: Yes. And the names that we come up with most of the time it has to do with somebody that we know, somebody in the cast knows or somebody that one of the writers knows or a producer, something like that. I would say pretty much eight times to of ten there is some relation to the crazy name that Gus is being called.
EM: This question is for both of you. What detectives, in real life or in fiction, have been an influence for the characters?
James Roday: You know what, I go to this movie called Without a Clue that not a lot of people saw. It was Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley, and the idea behind the movie was that Watson was the brains of the operation and Holmes was just this very theatrical sort of charlatan that diverted people’s attention and got all the ladies. It’s a very, very funny movie that not a lot of people have seen.
But I love the fact that it was sort of rooted in the idea that these two guys absolutely, positively were dependent on one another to solve a crime, because Holmes was sort of the face of the franchise but Watson was the guy that sort of kept their feet on the ground and did a lot of the thinking. That’s not exactly what the dynamic is on Psych, but the sort of ying yang element of it of there’s no way that either of these guys could work on their own and there’s no way that they could accomplish what they were doing without the other one is definitely sort of a big element of what we do on Psych.
So that’s my answer. I feel decent about it. I’m passing it off to Dulé.
Dulé Hill: I guess for myself it’s not any real I guess template that I came in to with a preconceived notion about like in terms of a previous detective team. I guess if I had to choose one I would say Cosby and Poitier in Uptown Saturday Night. I want to say that would be the equivalence that I could think of, but besides that there’s not really anything that I’ve thought about before to say yes, this is what the template is.
EM: I just want to say the premise of the premiere episode made me smile, because I’m in Vancouver. I just wanted to know what was behind the decision to actually feature Van city in the episode?
Dulé Hill: I think it’s that we work in Vancouver. We’ve been working—
James Roday: Yes, it was an opportunity to finally not worry about everything that was in the background of all of our shots. We actually could play the locations for the actual locations, and make believe stickers and Canadian flags all those things were good. And it was actually a lot of fun; I’m glad we’ve lasted long enough to do one to do that. It was fun.
Dulé Hill: And we finally didn’t have to move our palm trees with this; we could leave the palm trees—
James Roday: That’s right, our three movable palm trees got an episode off.
Dulé Hill: Right. They were tired, you know what I mean; the palm trees were tired. With every episode they were …
James Roday: We gave them a much-deserved break.
EM: I have to say that I really enjoyed the first episode, and I particularly loved the Thomas Crown/Remington Steele reference and laughed pretty hard about that one, mostly because the other day I was on Hulu and I actually watched an episode of Remington Steele. So it just kind of made me laugh.
But I really enjoy the pop culture references that you make in the series, and I just wondered if you could be in any television show of the past which would it be? Or if you could spoof a show as an episode what would it be?
James Roday: Well, my answer is one in the same. I would have given anything to be on Twin Peaks, and if we last another season we will be doing a Twin Peaks episode. So there you go.
Tiffany D’Emidio (Eclipse Magazine): Really. That would be interesting to see. Dulé?
Dulé Hill: I guess for myself if I could have been a Cosby kid.
EM: Cosby kid.
Dulé Hill: Yes, of course. If I could have been on Cosby that would have been great for me. And I guess if we could spoof any show I would say maybe Fame; I could be Leroy.
Lauren Tucker (Small Screen Monthly): I have a question for both of you. If you could investigate anybody who would it be?
Dulé Hill: If I could investigate anybody who would it be?
James Roday: I think I might have to just really roll up my sleeves and investigate Monica Bellucci and just make sure that she’s living her life along the straight and narrow, she’s not cutting any corners in life, in her work; just really get in there and make sure that she’s on the up and up.
Dulé Hill: And from my side I would investigate Halle Bear, who is also Halle Berry.
James Roday: That’s it; this is classy stuff you’re getting from us today.
EM: My question is it just seems like you have a blast; the show is so fun to watch. And I was wondering if the show is as much fun to shoot as it is to watch?
Dulé Hill: Yes.
James Roday: Absolutely.
Dulé Hill: We have so much fun up there. The cast is great, the crew is even greater, and we just have a lot of fun. No one takes themselves too seriously; we all come to work and we are pretty much getting paid to laugh all day. We sing songs; we have the best singing crew in Vancouver. One day if you get a chance you come up there and we’ll have them sing you Happy Birthday just for no reason in particular. We sing Happy Birthday about three or four times a day just because. There’s a really great bunch of people up there.
James Roday: And we don’t pay royalties for it. It’s free; we can sing Happy Birthday for free.
EM: At Comic Con you kind of teased that Twin Peaks would be this season. Is that not true?
James Roday: That is not true, unfortunately. I think that something got lost in the translation there. This season has sort of been locked for a while; there are no unaccounted for episodes. That was us teasing with the hoax that if some of our executives were in the audience it was like a hint, hint listen to how bad everybody wants this. You have to keep us on the air. It’s a promise; it’s definitely a promise that if there’s a season five Twin Peaks will definitely happen.
Dulé Hill: I guess a little teaser too Twin Peaks would be Ray Wise doing our show this year. A little prelude.
James Roday: That’s true. It’s a Twin Peaks prelude.
EM: Hey, guys. I wanted to talk about some of the telltale references. I actually thought it was really funny the jokes that you made about The Mentalist in the premiere. When that show started were you guys like going, “Hmm, that sounds familiar,” and was it sort of fun to sort of point that out on screen?
James Roday: It was. No one is off limits when it comes to us, including ourselves. We’ve made fun of our own sort of resumes on this show. As long as they have a sense of humor over there I would think that they would be sort of flattered and get a kick out of it.
Obviously, it’s not malicious in any, but it’s what we do on our show and if you’re going to go make a bigger show that’s kind of like our show and get four times as many viewers and Emmy nominations then you should expect to hear about it when our show airs.
EM: I’m a big fan of the show and my son is a one-year old and loves your theme song. I have a video online of him dancing to the theme song.
James Roday: Nice.
EM: My question is do you guys have a favorite episode to film or that you think is the best episode you guys have done so far?
James Roday: I like different ones for so many different reasons, but I can say that for me personally, just as an actor, I think the most fun I’ve ever had on our show was an episode called Life’s Camera Homicidio when my character got thrust into the world of a Spanish telenovela and I got to improvise in both English and Spanish. That was a blast.
Dulé Hill: Well I guess for that episode I guess Roday to be able to improvise in Spanish he was getting in touch with his roots so he was really excited about that.
But for myself it would still have to go back to American Duos. I just can’t help it, I just loved dressing up as Michael Jackson and being able to do a moonwalk, have John Landis direct me while I’m dressed up as Michael Jackson in Thriller. And there was a crowd there, too, so you can’t really beat that. You can’t really beat that. That’s one of my all time favorite experiences on Psych.
EM: I was going to ask you if you had any things that you could tell us about this upcoming season, whatever you feel free to share either overall or specifics about what we can expect this season.
James Roday: In terms of sort of themes for episodes you saw that we’re doing sort of an expedition Canada, catch a jewel/art thief episode, and we’re doing sort of a Shawn and Gus save an old western town and everything that comes along with that that you could imagine, including a grizzled, gray bearded James Brolin.
Dulé Hill: Exorcism episode.
James Roday: Yes, we’re paying tribute to the Exorcist with our exorcism episode featuring the aforementioned Ray Wise, who is just fantastic in the episode I have to say. Just really came in and knocked it out of the park.
Dulé Hill: American Werewolf in London homage.
James Roday: That’s right, a little love letter to American Werewolf in London and werewolf movies in general featuring David Naughton, obviously, and Josh Malina. And lots of other fun stuff.
I have to say I think we’re kind of storming out of our gates this year with some really good stuff. I think last year we stormed in our heads, but we were actually like trotting at a casual pace, and this year I actually think we’re storming out of the gates for real.
EM: To kind of follow-up on some previous questions, how many of the pop culture references come from you, including the Chad Michael Murray reference?
Dulé Hill: I would say about 99.9% of them do not come from me. [Laughs] Maybe if there’s something in the ‘70s that might be something that I came with, but most of the ‘80s references I have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s not until after I film it that I turn around and say, “Okay, now what was that about?”
James Roday: Who were the twins that you knew that I had never heard of in Tuesday the 17th?
Dulé Hill: The twins? Oh, the Mowry Twins.
James Roday: The Mowry twins. That was your 0.01% man.
Dulé Hill: That and what’s the other one? I don’t even know if it made it to air, the Gill Scott Heron.
James Roday: Oh, that was. That made it two. That made it two.
Dulé Hill: Gill Scott Heron. That’s my two for the year.
James Roday: Yes. Most of them come from the writers and then I throw in my fair share as well. Chad Michael Murray became the target of some early jabbing for us after I saw some interview where it was like a behind the scenes of House of Wax and he was wearing a wife beater. It was just a real serious interview, and I got such a kick out of it that we had to have some fun at his expense. Hopefully he’s a good-natured guy with a sense of humor.
EM: So my question is how does becoming co-producers affect your roles on the show?
Dulé Hill: I don’t know what Roday thinks, but from my side I don’t think it really changes that much. I think from the beginning of the show the dynamic has pretty much been what it is. Maybe say from Roday’s side he may write a few more episodes, but he was already writing episodes anyway. From my side I would think it’s more of a title; it hasn’t really changed the actual working dynamic that much. Maybe a little bit changes, but nothing too major.
James Roday: Yes. I think, like Dulé said, the dynamic was sort of set from the first season. Because none of our producers are up in Vancouver with us it was just sort of a necessary thing that we take on a little more responsibility to help the show sort of run smoothly. They finally decided to throw us a title for it.
EM: My question is just this year they released two books for PSYCH and your characters and everything, and I was wondering if you were to ever read those yourselves and you could come up with your own kind of merchandise what would you like to see?
Dulé Hill: Well I would read it if I had one and if I knew there was one that was out.
James Roday: I was going to say it’s good to know that there are books out. I didn’t know that.
Dulé Hill: Maybe I’ll try to read it one day on the set.
James Roday: Merchandise.
Dulé Hill: I would have to say a video game. I love video games anyway, so a Psych video game somehow that I could play on Xbox or Wii would be great.
James Roday: I have to say I think the idea of a talking bobblehead was pretty solid, and someone actually came up with already and did it. I love the idea of little Shawn and Gus bobbleheads.
Dulé Hill: Which, by the way, I have my President Obama bobblehead also. So when I get my Psych bobbleheads it will be Shaun, Gus, and President Barack Obama bobbleheads sitting on my counter.
James Roday: I might give you Ichiro Suzuki bobblehead just so that you can add it and it would be a quartet.
Dulé Hill: Sounds good.
EM: I was wondering if you, James, had visited any actual psychics in order to watch and observe them in action? And if you, Dulé, being an encyclopedia of useless knowledge that oddly becomes useful every week, is it anything like the way your brain works in real life?
Dulé Hill: Well from my side no; I try not to fill up my brain cells with useless information. So most of the time I’m pretty much just learning it as it comes in the scripts.
James Roday: And for me I visited a couple psychics back before we shot the pilot just because I was sort of interested to hear their back stories and sort of how the power manifests itself.
And of course you never know if they’re legit or not, but there were some interesting stories in terms of like physicalizing the gift. I was interested to hear like does it ever take over your body, does your body heat rise, stuff like that; anything that I could steal. Of course I did not tell them while visiting that I was going to be playing a fake psychic nor did they figure it out on their own, so maybe that tells you everything you need to know about the people that I met with.
And I have to say, for the record, my favorite line from Without A Clue is after Michael Caine pokes a dead body with a stick and announces to everyone, “It is my opinion that this man is dead.” So there you go.
EM: After coming back from Comic Con and all the questions that have already been asked before me, I’m kind of out. I don’t know even what to ask you guys anymore, so I’ll just ask you this. What’s the one question that you both wish someone would ask you that no one has ever asked you?
Dulé Hill: I guess I would say that question you just asked me. It would be just a reoccurring cycle just would keep going around, because then my response would be the question you just asked me if you would ask me the question again.
James Roday: Wow. That’s a tough one. That’s a good one. I love talking about my fellow cast mates, because I think they’re all geniuses and I think they’re all so talented. So anything that allows me the opportunity to go off ranting about them and watching them work and what a joy it is for me to sort of sit back if I’m writing or directing and sort of watch them do their thing is a great question that I feel like I don’t get asked enough. But that’s it; that’s the best that I can give you.
EM: Which one of you is the most like your character on the series or are you completely different?
James Roday: I think we’re both pretty different. I do. I think that’s one of the things that is really cool about our show is that we have as much fun as we do, A, and B, we get to play characters that are pretty different from our real life personas.
Dulé Hill: But actually going back to someone’s previous question about useless information I would say that Roday is more like Gus in that area, especially with film trivia, ‘80s trivia. He and Steve Franks can lift off songs on an album. I guess—
James Roday: I have the trunk of useless knowledge.
Dulé Hill: Yes.
EM: I was wondering you guys have such great chemistry on the show does that come naturally?
Dulé Hill: I think so; I think it comes naturally. From the time we first got together there was a good vibe there, and we’ve had a cast that continued to grow with it. I think even off screen we get along very well. The cast as a whole we like hanging out with each, making each other laugh, going out having dinner, playing poker, playing mafia. It’s just us up there in Vancouver, so if we didn’t get along then I think it would show itself on screen. So I would say it comes pretty natural.
James Roday: I agree with all of that.
EM: I just have to say right quick Life’s Camera Homicidio was on repeat at my house for the longest—love that episode. And just finished seeing the premiere a couple of nights ago, and I couldn’t help but wonder while I was watching is there anything, in your guys’ opinions, that would cause Gus to say no more? Is there anything that Shawn could do that would just drive Gus over the edge and Gus would just have to take a stand and say no, I’m just not going to do that?
Dulé Hill: I don’t know if there is anything that Shawn could do. I do think there is something that Jeff Wachtel and Bonnie Hammer could do–if they say the show is over they maybe might see Gus say no more.
But no, I don’t think so. I think they’ve been together for so long they’re like brothers. I think a major part of Gus really enjoys going along on the journeys that Shawn takes him, but just doesn’t want to come out of his face and actually admit. He always wants to say this is wrong and we shouldn’t be doing this, but I think he would go pretty much wherever Shawn leads him, and I don’t think Shawn would lead him to far off the ledge. I think there’s like a nice little balance there.
James Roday: I think if there was going to be something that caused him to say that it would have happened already. Shawn has done some pretty whacked stuff to him, so I think he’s in. I think he’s in at this point.
Dulé Hill: Right.
EM: I think there’s a danger in comedy when you go across a number of seasons that you could become predictable or stale. How do you guys keep this show so fresh?
James Roday: It’s a good question, and I think part of the answer is that all of us, from producers to writers to actors and everybody, is sort of hyper aware of what you just said. You couldn’t have a group that was sort of more acutely aware of not getting complacent, of recognizing how important it is to not become predictable and to not get stale, because it happens to so many other shows. And so when we go to break stories and we’re on set it sort of pushes us, quite frankly, to not settle for stuff that feels like it could be better and that’s sort of the way we’ve been treating the show from the beginning.
And while it may get more and more challenging the longer that we last the truth is we don’t ever want to be considered one of those shows that dropped off after season blank and then was just sort of on autopilot until the end. And I don’t think anyone will ever sort of break in that regard; we’ll always continue to challenge each other and make sure that everybody is working as hard as they possibly can.
Dulé Hill: And I think it’s very easy to, I guess, just to do what you think works. I think, as Roday was saying, we keep challenging ourselves to keep raising the bar, to keep staying engaged, and even as the actors on the set to keep staying connected and staying alive each time we do it.
And then also I think certain things we try to make sure we don’t run certain things to the ground, like Gus is not going to run screaming out every episode. After you find yourself doing certain things for a while you kind of say okay, let’s go someplace else with it to keep the characters alive.
James Roday: Absolutely.
EM: “American Duos” has to be my favorite episode. What was it like working with Tim Curry and the rest of the guest stars?
Dulé Hill: Oh, wow, it was great. First of all, just the fact that Roday and Tim Curry went into a little back and forth saying, “No.” You couldn’t really beat that. You’re working with a comic genius, a great actor, along with Gina Gershon too, it was great. And then having John Landis direct, as I said before, for myself it was one of the all time great moments for me on Psych.
James Roday: It was a blast of an episode and it was cast perfectly. It was just one of those things where all the pieces came together and you just sort of sat back and pinched yourself a little bit, because you’re like I can’t believe this is A, happening, and B, like episode one of season two. So the planets definitely aligned on that one.
EM: I came up with a little trickier question, because your show’s Twitter feed said they were tired of hearing the same questions over and over again. Both of you play characters who are more complicated than they first appear, like it would be easy to play Shawn as just this grifting slacker but there’s more to him than that. What do each of you think is your character’s most difficult trait to capture and what moment in the show has allowed that character element to shine?
James Roday: Well that’s very insightful and thoughtful indeed. For me I would say the most challenging thing about playing Shawn is the tight wire act between slacker and man child, and then also somebody that you really do want to invest in emotionally and like every week. And the line between wanting to rub his head and slap his face is very, very, very thin. And sort of walking that line and always knowing when to stop is sort of the most challenging on a day-to-day basis.
In terms of like a single event that sort of helped me with that I would say probably when we brought Shawn’s mother onto the show, first episode of season three. Kind of we peeled back a layer that I think by tapping into it has allowed that sort of tight wire act to get a little easier just because you sort of saw a side of him that was way vulnerable that he didn’t have complete control over. And once we sort of put that out there I think it made things a little bit easier in terms of the balancing act.
Dulé Hill: And then just for myself is one I don’t I guess get too cerebral with my character, so I don’t really think about it like that too often. I guess when a question comes up it makes me think about it, but in my day-to-day action on the set I don’t really process it I just do it.
I would say I guess for me it would be that Gus to not make him too nerdy but not make him too cool, because he is a nerd. But at the same time you want him to be cool also, and I think too far in either direction would change the dynamic of the show. So it’s always trying to find that balance of cool nerdiness or nerdy coolness or something like that. That would be my answer to that.
EM: When I talked to James a little while ago you kind of gave me the may or may not be a werewolf episode. I was wondering if at this point there are any may or may not things you would tell us about what’s going to happen.
James Roday: Well there may or may not be a continuation of the story that capped off our season last year, An Evening With Mr. Yang.
Dulé Hill: And there may or may not be something big coming.
James Roday: There may or may be our biggest guest star ever appearing on the show down the stretch. And we may or may not be getting another dose of what Gus’ hair looked like in the ‘90s. How’s that?
EM: My question is kind of weird, but forgive me. If Shawn and Gus went camping and they ran into a clan of hungry, angry cannibals what would the plan be to fight them off? And would Gus’ wicked dance moves or maybe his random knowledge come into play somehow?
Dulé Hill: I would say first Shawn would probably try to do some kind of psychic intervention to lead them on a place for much better food. And then Gus would come in and talk about the nutritional principals of the food they were going to get instead of the make-up of eating Shawn and Gus together. Because eating the two of us together wouldn’t be good, but eating what we’re going to go and get would be that much better. And somewhere—
James Roday: I think there would be a diatribe about how dark meat is far worse for you than white mean, which Shawn of course would take and run with until he realizes that they’re doing a pretty good sales job on white meat and now everybody is just looking at him. At which point Gus would have to create a diversion, and you would end up with us running as fast as our legs would carry us and probably screaming bloody murder.
Dulé Hill: Yes. At the top of our lungs at the highest pitch possible.
James Roday: Yes.
EM: You said what your favorite episode was, but you guys have done so many great things together on the show what has been your favorite like moment on the show?
James Roday: Well since we’ve already sort of thrown out the Duos thing a couple of times I’ll try to name one that doesn’t involve us dressing up and singing at the end of that episode. I don’t know.
Dulé Hill: There are so many.
James Roday: There are so many good ones, but I think back at some of the early ones just because they were the moments that sort of helped set the tone and define the series. I think it was a lot harder to come by moments like that in the early episodes, as opposed to now when we’ve been doing it so long.
So I’ll say the scene in Forgive Me Not where we were pretending to be doctors from other countries and spoke in the ticktock language to the zoo doctor. I think for where we were in the series that was pretty inspired that—
Dulé Hill: Yes. I would have to agree with that; that was one of the classic moments. It wasn’t planned to go as far as it did, and Bob Dansky just let us run with it and it turned into that where we just were– I don’t even know how we were communicating, but we were doing some kind of language to each other that kept on going.
EM: So my question is at Comic Con you guys mentioned something about a musical episode and also there was a mention of a possible porn spoof. And so I wanted to let you guys know if you did do the porn spoof I have a lot of volunteers.
Dulé Hill: Oh, okay. Tell them they’re welcome to come join us.
EM: I’m at the front of the line.
Dulé Hill: Okay. Sounds good to me.
James Roday: That’s awesome. Thank you.
EM: So the musical episode—are you guys really going to do a musical?
James Roday: I would say yes. If we can last a little bit longer you’ll definitely get a musical episode before all is said and done.
EM: I was wondering in the new episode you work with Cary Elwes. What was that like and were there any Dread Pirate Roberts jokes going on?
James Roday: We went pretty light on him. We went pretty light on him with The Princess Bride jokes. He came in and he was very focused and he wanted to do a really good job. He had given his character a lot of thought, and that was sort of enough for us, I think, just seeing an actor of that caliber come in and be definitely sort of concerned and tuned in as he was. I mean don’t get me wrong; we had a great time with him and he was a blast to work with, but we didn’t rib him too much.
EM: So in season three we got to see a lot more of the serious side of the characters. Are we going to get more of that in season four?
Dulé Hill: Definitely.
James Roday: Yes, a little bit. You don’t ever want to go too far in that direction, because I think people have plenty of shows that they watch to watch people be serious. I think at the end of the day it’s always going to be important for us to mostly deliver what has made us successful, but there will definitely be episodes this year where you see us flip our serious switches. Gus has a serious jackal switch where it’s still a jackal but it’s a serious jackal.
Dulé Hill: Yes. That will have to make its way out some time this year.
EM: A multi-parter. What has it been like to be on USA Network, and I was wondering if you think kind of there’s any big differences being on cable? And also, kind of related to that, do you guys ever feel like you’re kind of in friendly competition with newer series, other multiple of detective, spy, comedy series?
Dulé Hill: From my side I think it’s great on USA. They really take the time to nurture their shows, they give you the chance to grow, and they give you the freedom to try different things. I would say everyone over there at USA, Jeff Wachtel, Bonnie Hammer, they all are very brilliant at what they do and they know what works. They know what works for their network and their track record proves it.
In terms of like feeling in competition I myself don’t. I always feel that your journey is your journey and what’s good for one is good for all. If the network is doing well then it’s great for all of us, so if they have a show that comes and premiers well great; that makes us that much more stronger. As long as we can hold down our spot then I think we can keep going along for a good …
James Roday: Yes. I think what we do is fairly unique on Psych, and we just have to keep doing that because that’s what got us where we are. So you can’t really worry about any other show, whether it’s on USA or not. You have to stay true to yourselves and hope that people keep watching, and in the meantime just be, like Dulé said, just be happy for the family because it seems like everything they churn out right now turns to gold.
EM: I don’t have any zombie or porn questions, but now that you’ve had your first experience at Comic Con how was it for you guys? I know it was great for us fans to see you, but how did you enjoy Comic Con?
Dulé Hill: I actually loved it. I wished that I wasn’t so tired, because we had worked the night before in Vancouver and we flew down to LA I guess Wednesday and then I got up and flew to Comic Con Thursday morning. So I was pretty exhausted, so I wish I had more energy to be able to walk around. So I’m hoping to be able to go back next year and make sure I get some rest.
But I enjoyed it. It was great being there with all the fans and seeing people’s reactions. I enjoyed seeing the different outfits that I did see. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it for many more years.
James Roday: Yes, I was absolutely blown away. I mean working up in Vancouver, to an extent, sort of puts us in a bubble. To be able to come face-to-face with our fans and see their reaction I felt like the fourth Jonas Brother and I feel like Dulé was the fifth black Jonas Brother.
Even though it was only for an hour it was just an overwhelming, heartwarming response. I don’t want to go as far as to say it’s like a validating thing, but you really sort of felt for a moment there like wow what we’re doing is connecting with people, and that’s the best feeling you can have as an artist for sure.
EM: If you had the opportunity to choose some music for a Psych soundtrack what are a few tracks that would make the cut?
Dulé Hill: For a PSYCH soundtrack?
James Roday: “Shout” would be on there.
Dulé Hill: “Shout” would be on there. I guess I would say “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth. Oh, “Man in the Mirror.”
James Roday: “Man in the Mirror.” I would give Priscilla Ahn a shout out.
Dulé Hill: What’s that one where it goes ahhh, it’s a Hall and Oates one, “I’ll do anything that you want me to.”
James Roday: “I Can’t Go For That.”
Dulé Hill: Yes.
James Roday: And Priscilla Ahn’s “A Good Day.” That’s the song that played when Lassiter broke up with his ex-wife. That probably should be on there. Maybe at the end.
EM: So what I want to know is if people haven’t started watching Psych yet why should they tune in now?
Dulé Hill: Well there’s so much serious stuff going on in the world I think it’s a great show to come and sit back, put your feet up, and laugh for a little bit; just clear your minds. I think anyone who comes and watches this show definitely laughs out loud at least once, so if you’re looking to just step away from all the stress for a second then I would say check out Psych.
You know we’re like kids in a candy store, and it kind of brings people back to a time in their youth when people just dared to do anything, and that’s what we do on Psych.
James Roday: And there are so few rules that we have to follow in terms of making this show. I don’t think there are a lot of other shows out there where one week you’re wearing chaps and spurs and riding a horse and the next week you’re running from a potato sack headed killer chasing you into the woods with a machete, and yet you’re still laughing both times. I think it’s a pretty unique little hybrid; it has something for everyone.
EM: I’m going to go back to the “American Werewolf” episode. You wrote that, James. Right?
James Roday: Yes. I co-wrote that with my best friend Todd Harthan.
EM: Can you talk more about it? It was my favorite movie of all time. And is John Landis directing?
James Roday: Wow. I’m right there with you; it’s definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. The original plan was to have Landis direct it for obvious reasons. He is off directing a feature in England right now. So we got the incomparable Andrew Bernstein to step in in his place, who did a fantastic job, who Dulé has known since his West Wing days.
It’s not unlike Tuesday the 17th; it’s an episode that needs to sort of stand on its own feet, but will definitely have moments where we’re winking and nodding and proclaiming our love for the original. But it has its own little story and its own little twists and turns.
Just having David Naughton on set was enough for me, because I got to pick his brain for the better part of a week and ended up getting a signed picture of him mid-transformation with the elongated torso reaching up at me. That’s getting framed and going on a wall.
EM: I was wondering how has the success of this show changed your life?
Dulé Hill: Well for myself it hasn’t really changed that much, because I had come from the West Wing before. So West Wing had more of a bigger change in terms of my daily life than going from West Wing to Psych. The only thing I would say there’s more fans, because the audience is different.
But in terms of regular life I wouldn’t say it’s that much. I guess doing the show has changed my life because I’m in Vancouver six months out of the year. So you’re kind of battling that being settled in one place, because by the time that I come home and I get settled in LA and used to being home and having my home life I now have to go back to Vancouver and live six months up there. But there are worse things I can be going through, so I’m not complaining at all.
James Roday: My socks and underwear don’t have holes in them anymore. That was a big deal for me.
EM: I just wanted to know with your vast knowledge about show biz basically and obviously you’ve done some work on writing before, would you guys think about anything in the future that you would like to possibly write or direct? Maybe a new version of Twin Peaks, knock on wood, because I really loved that show too.
Dulé Hill: Well in terms of writing, I think in the future you will see me writing something called Nothing; it will be a blank piece of paper with nothing written on it, because I have no ambition to write so that’s not going to be happening. I’ll leave all that up to James Roday.
James Roday: Yes. I feel like this have been an invaluable sort of experience for me, because I’ve managed to kind of cut my teeth doing all of the things that I do aspire to do. Hopefully by the time this show has a long and successful run I’ll have sort of banked enough stuff to sort of go out there and get myself another gig writing or directing.
I can tell you that when we do the Twin Peaks episode it will probably either be myself or Steve Franks directing, and the two of us will certainly write it because I don’t think anyone else knows half as much about that show as we do. So I don’t think we would feel comfortable handing it off, unless David Lynch wanted to come in and direct, in which case we’d make an exception.
EM: I was wondering you’ve had a ton of fantastic guest stars. Who would you like to see on the show and who do you think they would play?
James Roday: My answer is going to stay the same until we get him on. The answer is David Bowie, and anybody he wants is whom he will play.
Dulé Hill: And for myself I would like to get someone like Chris Tucker on the show. It would be great if he could play some kind of, I mean he could play anybody he wanted to also, but he could play some kind of relative of mine or something. It would be a lot of fun.
James Roday: I think David Bowie could also play David Bowie if he wanted to, and Shawn and Gus could just have an episode where they hung out with David Bowie.
Dulé Hill: I think David Bowie could play Mr. Guster in season five.
James Roday: He could.
Dulé Hill: There you go—because we change my dad all the time. Like dude, your daddy is David Bowie. … is not showing.
James Roday: That would be fantastic.
Interview by Tiffany N. D’Emidio