Saying Goodbye to ‘Pysch’ with James Roday, Dulé Hill & Creator Steve Franks

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After 8 seasons of laugh out loud fun and over the top hyjinx its time so to say goodbye to our friends at Psych. Shawn and Gus solve their final case Wednesday March 26 9/8c on USA Network.

A group of us had a chance to chat with the guys to reminisce about the last 8 seasons and whats ahead for James, Dulé and creator Steve Franks .

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EM: Thanks.

Dulé Hill: I know that was your – that was what was on your mind.

Steve Franks: Thank you for sharing that with the group.

Dulé Hill: Anytime.

Steve Franks: Looks like you’re eating waffles at 2:10 in the afternoon.

Dulé Hill:  At 2:10 in the afternoon with maple syrup.

Steve Franks: You know what? You can’t be bound by time when you eat waffles. I love that about you.

EM: Well, we’re so sad to hear about the series finale but I know you guys are really big in Twitter but we haven’t heard much about you guys – any of you sharing about what the final day was like. I mean can you talk a little bit about who was the last to film and, you know, what happened the final day?

Steve Franks: The last day of principal photography was the last day of the Nightmare on State Street episode and it was an awesome night because it was James Roday at the helm and he so bravely decided that he – early on in the process that he wanted to be directing the last night that we shot. So it was a bitter-sweet night.

It was, you know, but it – at the same time, it was an all-night shoot. It was this amazing night where we had so many of us dressed up as zombies and it was the culmination – it was more joyous than sad because we’d had a, you know, a sort of a 1000 goodbyes up to that point. And it’s crew and actors all had their last day so, you know, it wasn’t like there were a lot of tears but it was sort of a great celebration of all the crazy things we’d done. And perhaps the craziest thing we’d done was that night.

James Roday I think that probably gives you an opening to expand on, maybe.

James Roday: It’s a bit of a blur for me because I was completely inebriated before we even started shooting. It – I also think it was a little easier to sort of – on the pallet that we ended with everybody in full zombie makeup and contact lenses and flesh dripping off their faces. It was just – it was all so ridiculous and a little bit surreal that it kind of – it prevent us from getting too sentimental in the moment, I think, because everybody looked like they were dead.

Dulé Hill: And also, I mean the fact that it was 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock in the morning, I don’t know what time it was that we actually finished. We all were kind of fatigued anyway so there wasn’t too much room for emotions. And then on top of that, Steve Franks said we had said goodbye so many times, you know, people in cast, when I finished our show, we would always sing Happy Birthday but it was a guest cast for anybody.

So as people were leaving for the final time, we sang a million and one Happy Birthdays and I believe we sang Once for the Show when we – when Rode called cut on the last shot. I believe we just – we sang Happy Birthday to Psych.

And then, if I’m not mistaken, Rode and I went into the camera truck because that was where, you know, that was like the meeting spot after a long day of filming. So with the camera crew, we went and had a little toast, a little more – a drink or two and that was it. And this had production.

Steve Franks:  Yes, we had already said goodbye to Maggie and Tim and Corbin and Kirsten and to half of our crew that went on to start working on other things. So it was really a lot of that – a lot of the harder sort of stuff was finished and it was…a celebratory, you know, 3:00 o’clock in the morning just kind of…

Dulé Hill: And was it the green screen? Is that what we shot last, I think? And correct me if I’m wrong, we did – the last shot was a green screen shot with me screaming.

James Roday: We had to grab a shot from the day before that we didn’t get so the final thing that was ever shot, the eight-year run of Psych, the series, was Dulé in front of a green screen screaming. That was it. That’s how we wrapped it up.

Dulé Hill: That’s how it ended.

EM: Well, what do you all hope the legacy of the show is? What do you hope that fans will take away from the eight seasons of delicious flavor you guys have provided?

Dulé Hill: For me, I just hope that they say, you know, that it was a lot of laughs. That they – it was a show that they can get together with their family or friends and it was a lot of laughs and it actually strengthened relationships. Whether it was relationships that were already there, was, you know, as I said, the family or new relationships. I know a lot of Psychos actually became friends because of the show so I hope that that would be the legacy that this – the show would leave — long-lasting, lasting relationships.

Steve Franks: Yes and for me – this is Steve Franks – you know, I always hope that, you know, that the show was created for a reaction to what was on television. And, you know, it seems like, to me, my goal was always to make you feel a little better about yourself and the world when you finish watching an episode of Psych than you could when you started, which you don’t often get, you know, watching an episode of Duck Dynasty or, you know, or, you know, Law and Order, you know, Special Victims Unit or whatever the latest incarnation is.

So to me, you know, I was – yes, I always wanted to, you know, make – in a small way, make the world a tiny bit of a better place and, you know, through our silly little hour that we came on and, you know, and jumped into peoples’ lives for a little time. And to me, I hope that it’s one of those things that makes people happy and continues to make them happy.

And, you know, the best letters we ever get are the ones, you know, people talking about, you know, how they were down in the dumps or they were going through a tough time in their lives and this show, you know, somehow brought them together. And like Dulé said, you know, it – the show, through no real intention of our own, somehow has become this thing that families watch together.

You know, we always just – we sort of thought it as, you know, a show for people our age and we found out that people much younger and people older than us really gravitated toward us. And it’s very strange when we get people who say, you know, this is a show we watch with our kids. And we think back to some of the jokes we put in and then, you know, we’ll notice.

But it’s, you know, it’s one of those things that I think that I hope they – it did bring people closer together and make them feel better about everything that’s going on in their world.

James Roday: Yes, the only thing I could add to any of that — this is James Roday — is just that I feel like, you know, the right people came together at the exact right time on the exact right network. And it kind of resulted in a show that, you know, played by its own rules. We kind of got to do whatever we wanted. Like we’re a show that took you wherever we wanted to take you from week to week and it was a rare experience where I think we were able to kind of leave it all out on the field. And we had the support of the – of, you know, of our studio and our network combined with, you know, the blessing of them maybe not even really entirely understanding what we were doing, which, I think, would often work to our advantage.

And as a result, we kind of got to make a show on our own terms, which is incredibly rare and we got to do it for eight years. And that’s extraordinary.

EM: Well, you certainly received a lot of love from fans through the fan art and videos and, you know, what have been some of your favorite either pictures or moments or things that fans have shared with you individually?

James Roday: My favorite — this is James Roday — my favorite moments were always with our Make a Wish kids visits up to Vancouver on the set. It always kind of blew my mind. It was beyond humbling that anybody would choose the set of Psych to fulfill their wish.

And then on top of that, they were just, you know, all of them were just the most precious, beautiful little human beings. Would come up with their families and friends and sometimes extended families and basically the smiles, the look on their faces. The fact that, you know, for one day in an otherwise kind of troubled existence where these innocent children are facing so much adversity but, you know, the struggles and the illnesses that they’re facing, you know, we got to make one of those days a little bit brighter.

You know, just the snapshot of each of those days was always sort of the most fulfilling fan anything for me. That’s for sure.

Dulé Hill: Yes, I mean I would definitely agree with that. I think Rode answered it for the two of us. That, by far, exceeded anything else.

But it – all the fan interaction in general has been, you know, a bit of mind-blowing the fact that people really engaged us to the level that they have. I mean whether it’s, you know, you would – they would come to Vancouver or we’d be at the Comic Con or you run into somebody on the street, they were always pleasant and just really genuinely happy. Like the fact that what you could do would have that kind of effect on people, it’s humbling.

Steve Franks: Yes, there’s a great – this amazing girl that really touched all of us. Her name was (Anna). Her name is (Anna King) and she’s on the heart transplant list and she took herself off the heart transplant list to come to the set in Vancouver. You have to stay a certain amount of, you know, mileage between your hospital to wait for it.

And the fact that they were able to, you know, they were willing to sort of take that chance, you know, and to see that, you know, how much that this show, you know, her parents said that it was so much – it was more for her health to come to our set than to be on the – off the list for three days. And this girl is such an amazing thing and James Roday ended up wearing her – she’s got these amazing – she’s got this sort of (Anna King) project, she calls it.

It’s a heart for a king and James Roday actually wore a bracelet that she wore – that she had made during much of the last season. And, you know, those kind of things you can’t touch, you know, you can’t beat that with, you know, with anything else. And so, you know, the – it’s just been an amazing thing.

We – I think we sometimes would have, you know, more than one Make a Wish coming through on each day because I don’t know. Maybe we sort of touched people in that way but we always wanted to see, you know, always wanted to be welcome and available for stuff like that.

EM: So about what the USA Network President said when they announced that this is the final season. He said, “I don’t believe we’ve heard the last of Shawn and Gus.” And I was just wondering, is there anything to that? Is there any kind of something else in the works?

Steve Franks: You know, I was going to ask you. I have wondered myself what the hell that meant and I was like what are you talking about? Why didn’t – shouldn’t somebody inform me of all people of what the heck that means?

You know, for us, you know, we knew at the beginning of Season 8 this was going to be the last one and as you sort of see, we sort of were winding everything down. And we had this very strange thing where we weren’t allowed to acknowledge that and we, you know, I guess there’s, you know, there’s a master plan for everything.

But, you know, it, you know, we wonder – to me, it’s like I never stopped wanting to make a version of this show and I’ve always kept it very much out there that I would love to make a movie, you know, above all else. And, you know, we would – we could talk about, you know, other variations. We’re all, you know, we’re all off onto different projects. We’re all very excited what we’re doing now.

But like James Roday said in the last one, it was – it’s a magical time that came together with the right people and the right situation and we were sort of given the keys to the car and no road map. So we were able to do most everything that we wanted to do and, you know, you don’t want to give up those kind of opportunities.

So we enjoy – we loved doing the show, you know, and, you know, we – I think we’ve all acknowledged that at some point if there’s another, you know, whether it’s a movie or something else, you know, obviously, I don’t think it would be like a full-time series again. But I think, you know, most of us would jump at that and we would be really excited to sort of get back in this world. Because I don’t think I’m ever going to have as much fun doing anything else as I’ve had doing this.

So to answer your question, I have no idea what the hell that meant but I’ll take it.

Dulé Hill: Yes, I think we’re all hoping that it, you know, echoing what Steve Franks said, I think we’re all hoping that that we’ll do some type of film or something. Because we, you know, we just enjoy working with each other and we enjoyed the fans and we – and I think more – there are always stories there to tell within the Psych world. But without – we hope that there is something more behind our series finale on March 26.

EM: I wanted to ask each of you, what is the thing you miss most or you will miss most from making the show?

Dulé Hill: For me, it’s the camaraderie. I mean I really enjoyed working with everybody. I mean there are very few times where you just enjoy going to work and you could spend 13, 14 hours a day with people and not get sick of them.

I mean I laughed every day that I showed up. It was always a – no matter what was going on in my life, it was always a place where it was an emotional relief and having a good time and I’d look forward to going to work.

I’m going to miss seeing, you know, obviously, the cast like Rode and Tim and Maggie. I’m, you know, and the times that, you know, Steve Franks would come and any of the writers from L.A. and – but the crew too. I really loved working with the crew. We had such a wonderful time there and we just laughed every day and all day. And that’s what I’m going to miss the most.

Steve Franks: Well, you know, I actually probably have a list too long to go on but I think what I’m – besides all the things that Dulé mentioned, you know, I think being on the set, the action of having a script start out, I’m going to miss being on the van scouting locations.

EM: Sure.

Steve Franks: I just – because we were always doing some sort of crazy new world and the day we start prep, it never feels like we’ll be able to pull off whatever world we’re trying to dive in that day.

But perhaps the most of all, I’m going to miss the Blendz milk chocolate mocha that I would get every morning before…

Dulé Hill: Oh yes.

Steve Franks: …going down to the set. And because you don’t have it in the United States and I’m just urging the Blendz Company to please expand South and particularly into California, Southern California so we – that’s a plea for that.

Dulé Hill: That’s Blendz with a z for all of you non…

Steve Franks: Yes.

Dulé Hill: …experts.

Steve Franks: Yes, that’s – and also, I’m going to miss the (Oda Momay) and (Joey’s) on (Barrard). It has this sort of great Szechuan sauce that’s really fantastic so I think between the Blendz and the (Oda Momay), those two are going to be – it’s going to be hard to beat.

And also the camaraderie and the relationships but mostly the Blendz, the then (Oda Momay), then the camaraderie and then the scouting.

EM: And then the scouting, okay.

Steve Franks: And then the scouting.

EM: That’s great. I’m going to make sure I note that and I actually will have to share that with my family because going back to something you all said, your show was one of the very first shows that I could watch with all three of my children — 14, 10 and 6 in that order. And they – we had to have a meeting to let them know the show was ending. We thought we might have to have an intervention.

So…

Dulé Hill: Oh.

EM: The show was big on make – on big remakes and cult classics. Was there one that you wish you could have done before the show ended.

Steve Franks: I don’t think there’s one. I think there’s like ten of them. James Roday, go ahead.

James Roday: Yes, I was – I think since you brought up – since you did bring up The Breakfast Club thing, it’s less of a world and I would have loved to complete that set. I can finally just say it out loud now and stop being sly about it.

I feel like Emilio’s the one that got away from us and it wasn’t for lack of trying. We really did come at it from every angle we could think of but we just couldn’t make it happen. And that’s, you know, that’s a hole I wish we could have filled.

Steve Franks: Yes and to me, story-wise, you know, about – at the beginning of every year, I would come in with like, you know, 16 to 25 different arenas that I wanted to play in. And the one that was on the list every year and we never cracked it and we wasted so much time trying was time travel. And I was really bummed we never cracked it because we could never come up with a satisfying time travel story without actually having Shawn or Gus travel through time, which we were sure the network was going to balk at.

They let us get away with a lot but having Gus suddenly come up and being in the Road Warrior, that we could never connect the dots on that. So that would be – that was one that we could never make happen and, you know, it was never going to happen. But that was sort of the big one that we left on the table.

Dulé Hill: And I’m not one to say why we couldn’t do a Boogie Nights remake.

James Roday: I teased it, man. I teased like three times in a row. I couldn’t get any slack – get any – no love on the Boogie Nights episode.

Steve Franks:  And you guys, you heard, (EM) has a six-year-old who’s watching the show and so that is exactly the situation that I didn’t do because, you know, (EM), I also – I’d like to personally apologize for – this is my partner, Fellatio del Toro. That’s my joke.

And sometimes it gets late in the day and you’re doing what you call a punch on the script and something seems really funny. And the minute you see it on TV and then someone says, “I watch your show with my children,” and you think back to that day when something was really funny and then you’d shake your head a little bit and you just hope that nobody was paying attention.

EM: I think for me and for a lot of fans, Gus and Shawn’s friendship was the heart of the show. And I want to know, can each of you kind of pick a Shawn and Gus moment that stands out in your memory?

Dulé Hill: I think for me it always goes back to American Duos when, you know, we got to dress up as Roland Orzabal and Michael Jackson and a shot.

EM: Right.

Dulé Hill: Because – I mean one, because it was surreal anyway being there on stage, singing that song. You know, John Lennon had, you know, we had people in the audience who were – they were directed to scream at us so they were screaming as if we were rock stars. And then, you know, and then (John Landis) was in the, you know, in the wings or behind the monitor directing us.

But then what’s really interesting is that that’s actually something that started off camera that made its way to screen. You know, I remember at the end of the season before that, Rode and I were, you know, just a late night. We were joking around, doing shouts as if Michael Jackson, Roland Orzabal did it and then it made it, you know, they – it became an episode.

I mean that always just stuck out in mind. That stuck out for me and that’s what also when like Psych really found its legs in terms of we can go anywhere. I believe that was Season 2, the season premiere of Season 2 and you just kind of realize like, “Well this is going to be a really funny show. We have – I mean if we’ve done this, we can do anything.”

EM: That’s awesome. And what about you, James Roday and Frank — Steve Franks, sorry?

Steve Franks: Oh I can let Frank answer as well. James Roday, what do you think?

James Roday: Wow, gosh man. There are so many for me. It’s hard to choose one but I’ll give you sort of a dichotomy that I think has covered. It can only be one.

It can only be Juan. At least I have a land bear.

You know, for me it was always the sort of dichotomy of this friendship where on the one hand, they would die for one another but in any given episode, one would leave the other one alone facing the perils of death and run as quickly as he possibly could in the opposite direction. I think those two elements is what made that friendship so special because you had both.

Like you had, you know, all right, I’m going to – we’re going to sit here and argue over which one of us wants to get poisoned first so that the other one doesn’t have to watch, you know, the other one die. But in the same friendship, you know, you hear a loud noise, take off running, you know, you’re on your own, man. And it works. Like it always worked both sides of that.

But I do think, you know, just to sort of put a finer point on it, like that conversation in the final yin-yang episode where we’re both tied up and, you know, Robocop is about to stick us. And we literally take the time to bicker over who wants to die first because neither of us want to see the other one go does sort of tell you everything you need to know about these two.

Steve Franks: And since those two guys hit on sort of the essential moments, to me, it was the moment that I’d wanted to write from the beginning. And it’s the moment where the guys actually finally have a fist fight and it’s Indiana Shawn episode when Shawn is really – when Gus realizes that Shawn has stolen this dagger. And it, you know, for me, it was – I was always working towards I want these guys to fight each other at some point.

And to me, that was – it was the encapsulation, again, of what James Roday says about this sort of the set because their fight is the most ridiculous thing that you’ve ever seen and it was so fun to shoot. And it was, you know, you could watch 25 seconds of that and know everything you need to know about the eight years of the show.

James Roday: Gus brought a program to a knife fight.

Steve Franks: Yes.

Dulé Hill: You want to bumble with the D, huh?

EM: James Roday, I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t answer my question about what thing you’ll miss most.

James Roday: Oh, you know, they covered it so well. Actually, everything that Dulé said for sure. I mean if I got a little more specific on it, I would say – I would just focus in on the laughter.

For eight years, I – there was at least one moment a day where I laughed so hard that it became unpleasant and, you know, that’s a tough thing to find in life and with any kind of consistency. But we made each other laugh, you know, to the point of vomiting sometimes and we did it with a wonderful group of people that we had affection for.

And, you know, in some cases, I truly do believe that laughter is the best medicine and we had the best medicine for eight years. And now, it’s back to popping pills which, you know, that’s what everybody has. That’s what everybody does.

EM: And can you guys tell us what you have coming up? You said you have – you all have – on to other projects.

James Roday: Who’s going first?

Dulé Hill: Well, yes, I mean – well, I’m here in New York. I’m out doing a show here on Broadway right now and I think I’ll be doing it for a few more months. And we will see what comes next.

James Roday: Yes and I’m actually writing something. I’m actually writing something but once again, like the end of Psych, I’m not allowed to announce yet so I don’t know why but I can’t.

Steve Franks: Yes, I’m kind of in the same boat. I’ve written something that I’m not allowed to announce although when I am allowed to announce it, I feel like it’s going to be a little anti-climactic, to be honest.

And then, I’ve, you know, I made my first film, you know, last year, the same year that we finished Psych, which was kind of a – it was sort of a big year of things that I had been working on for a really long time ending at the same time. And I’m out there, you know, trying to sell the film and hopefully find a home for the movie so that people can see it.

I think Psych fans, especially the ones that are 17 or older, will enjoy it and, you know, Dulé may or may not appear briefly but memorably in the film. I don’t know. I can’t remember. It was a while back when we shot.

And that’s sort of consuming a lot of my time these days. You know, independent film making is a grind for sure and the only thing harder than getting the movie made is getting somebody to care about it once it’s finished. So that’s where a lot of my energy is these days.

EM: Thanks again for everything, for a wonderful eight years.

And my last question is just – I mean I heard if you guys have taken anything specifically from the set that you’ve kept as mementos besides, of course, the memories and videos and all the wonderful merchandise that we’re getting to enjoy.

Dulé Hill: I may or may not – oh go ahead, Steve Franks.

Steve Franks: No, you go ahead. Go ahead.

Dulé Hill: I said I may or may not have taken my (Burton Guster) name plate from the Psych office. I may or may not have taken the newspaper article from Spelling Bee that was up in the Psych office. And I may or may not have taken a piece of the rim from the destroyed blueberry.

Steve Franks: That’s awesome.

Dulé Hill: I may or may not have taken those things.

James Roday: I wanted only one thing and it actually applies to a question from earlier. I wanted the dagger that they fought over in the Indiana Shawn episode and they ended – it ended up being sent to me. Unfortunately, they didn’t send me the one that had the key carved out of it so I actually have this very dangerous sharp rusty dagger that’s now in my house somewhere.

But it’s spectacular. It was one of the only things that I really wanted to keep from the set but I was very, very happy to keep it.

Steve Franks: I did take my name plate. It was the one that matched Gus’. They sat on our desks for all eight years. It kind of sort of represented the whole sort of Psych side of the show.

And then the only other thing that I had always planned on taking, which I somehow managed to botch and I don’t know how. All I know is that I don’t have it, is the original (Winky) cutout, the frog whose eyes popped out when you squeezed him.

I tagged him. I knew he was still there. I focused in. I was myopic that last week and I somehow managed to not come back to America with him so that’s a bummer, huh?

James Roday: Yes, I think someone swiped that.

Steve Franks: Yes, I think that’s my – I think that’s what happened but I’m not – my heart is filled with so much love. I’m not going to sit here and start making accusations and pointing fingers now. I won’t do it.

James Roday: Well, I know I don’t have it but I know our last day — and this is a bonus tidbit for everybody on here — out last day in the Psych office that we shot was – is in the episode that comes next week, The Nightmare on State Street, which is, hands-down, the craziest thing we’ve done on the show.

And the Psych office is boarded up and overrun with zombies and there were a lot of people in there as the thing basically was completely demolished. So I have a feeling that (Winky) kind of walked away on that day.

Steve Franks: Yes, it’s highly possible.

Dulé Hill: I think Mira Sorvino took it.

Steve Franks: The cat is…out of the bag.

Series Finale Airs Wednesday March 26 9/8c on USA Network