Interview with James Roday & Dule Hill from Psych

I got the chance the other day to speak to James Roday & Dule Hill, stars of USA’s hit show, Psych. The show returns for the 2nd half of it’s fifth season tonight on USA at 10/9c. The guys are great to talk to, and they always seem to have a lot of fun together and with the press. Honestly, they couldn’t be nicer to talk to and to listen to, and I enjoy it every time. If you haven’t been watching Psych, you are truly missing out!

There are slight spoilers during the interview, so be aware!

When asked what it was like to film in Vancouver AS Vancouver: (They normally film it in Vancouver as Santa Barbara.)

James Roday: Well it’s easier.

Dule Hill: Yes.

James: That’s for sure. We spend a lot of time running around and covering up signs and replacing license plates and moving fake palm trees. And…

Dule: And flags, taking down flags.

James: …when we shot for actual Vancouver we didn’t have to worry about any of that stuff which means we could allow our minds and the minds of some of our crew members to drift in a good way.

Dule: About Maple syrup.

James: That’s right.

Dule: And you also don’t have to frame out the ice capped mountains either. You can use that.

James: Oh, that’s true. Good point, Dule.

Dule: See what I’m saying?

James: That’s sharp thinking for this early in the morning. I’m very impressed.

Dule: That’s how I do it in the morning, you know what I mean?

James: Yes, man. Like a farmer except you’re not.

Jump with us to read more of the great questions & answers!

When asked to talk about the “Twin Peaks”-themed episode:

James: Well I can tell you that it is probably the most proud I have been of any of our achievements on the show, which as you know have been plentiful.

It’s me basically being a fan boy. “Twin Peaks” was my favorite show of all time. And, you know, to be able to work with seven of the original cast and basically pretend like I was in an episode of “Twin Peaks” was unbelievable.

In addition to that, and I think it’s just something that Dule and the rest of the cast all got to enjoy as well, we discovered that several of the original cast members hadn’t seen each other in 15 or even 20 years. So we were basically doing a “Twin Peaks” reunion within our “Twin Peaks” show. And watching them sort of reconnect and reminisce was pretty special as well. So it was sort of like two unbelievable experiences for the price of one.

The best thing about working with the other:

Dule: Well I would say from my side the best thing about working with Roday would be I guess the challenge of working outside the box. That would be it for me. I mean he’s such a talented actor that his mind will go anywhere and sometimes keeping up and staying on the train is a challenge for me but I enjoy it. You know, it’s a muscle that I haven’t really used in previous parts of my careers. So I’m definitely enjoying the time right now.

James: That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?

Dule: Yes, that’s all I’ve got man. That’s it. That’s all I got.

James: That’s very nice actually. Thank you.

Well I would say that in addition to, you know, the obvious which is that Dule is a very gifted actor as well and that he actually makes my job easier by keeping us on the tracks so that I can do all my crazy stuff. I mean that’s sort of what makes the show work and that’s why our chemistry has been so good from the beginning. It’s sort of a – pieces just really fell into place nicely and we’re very lucky.

But also he also says everything that we’re both thinking that have nothing to do with acting whether it’s weather-related or food-related or trailer-related or anything you can think of, you know, we’re always thinking the same thing but then he always says is out loud and then I don’t have to which is awesome.

When asked if there was one pop culture reference that hasn’t been done yet that they would love to do:

Dule: Yes. I’m not really a pop – I mean I’m on a show that’s about pop culture references but that’s not really my forte. I’m not really that big into it. Maybe something about Emmanuel Lewis.

James: Yes. You know, gosh, I think – I mean there’s still so many areas that are deep and plentiful. I wonder if there’s – if it’s not time that we did like a – I don’t know, like a major sort of Alf reference of some kind.

I think he’s probably due for some love.

When asked about the cliffhanger with Juliet and Shawn at the end of the first half of the season and any details about what to expect from the two of them going forward:

James: Well I can tell you that you’re not going to have to wait for long. I guess we all sort of decided that we had made you wait long enough and it’s addressed pretty cleanly and thoroughly in the premier on Wednesday. So if you can wait for two more days, then I think you’ll have all of the answers that you seek.

On the possibilities for any relationships coming up for Gus:

Dule: That’s a good question. In terms of Season 5 I don’t think so unless I’m blanking out on something (Roday might think of).

On Cary Elwes and his upcoming appearance:

James: We had a lot of fun with Cary. I think we had more fun with him the second time than we did even the first time because he, you know, he was sort of comfortable in the skin of the character. And he sort of got of better idea of what our set is and that it was going to be all fun and games all the time. And he just came up to sort of goof around this second time. And we spent more time with him off set as well and met his beautiful wife and unbelievably beautiful little girl. And he’s an all-around good guy and very funny in the episode.

On what other guest stars we can look forward to seeing this season:

Dule: Well beyond the Twin Peaks which is come up, we have Ralph Macchio. He’ll come up – he’ll be in one of the upcoming episodes. We have the return of Ally Sheedy. And then we find out who Mr. Yin is. And then we have Mena Suvari who comes up in that same episode. Who am I forgetting?

James: We have Tony Cox.

Dule: Oh, yes, Tony Cox came up. That’s right.

James: Very funny. Keshia Knight Pulliam, a little Bud/Rudy symmetry there. And Jacob Vargas, very good actor.

Dule: That’s right. And we have Aggie the Polar Bear.

James: Aggie the Polar Bear.

Dule: That’s right.

On any characteristics of the characters that they each play that they envy and that they wish they possessed?

Dule: I mean I think from my side I do wish I possessed a little more of the – I guess Gus knows a little bit of – he knows something about everything. Like he really has the most random trivia information stacked inside of his brain. And I think for myself I would love to be able to have that kind of information stored up inside my brain.

James: I think Shawn sort of represents that person that I don’t know we may have all known or may not that, you know, we always say we wish we could be more like that person because they take so many risks and they sort of live life to its absolute fullest at any given moment and they jump without asking questions. It’s a pretty remarkable quality that some people actually do have. But then we remember that it doesn’t always work out in real life the way it works out on television and that that’s probably why we’re not like that.

My questions!
Jenny: Someone mentioned a love interest for Gus and I just have to say that my husband said recently, “Come on, the man is seriously deprived.”

Dule: That is true. You can tell your husband that is a very factual thing.

Jenny: Well, we’re running a contest right now on our site for Psych and we’re having people tell us what names they think Shawn should introduce Gus as. And so I have to tell you a little bit of my favorites. We think they should call him Carlton Lassiter. The reactions from Gus and Juliet and Lassie himself would be hysterical. And then we have Burton Chocolate Silk Guster.

Dule: Oh, Chocolate Silk, okay.

Jenny: And then Henry McFly.

James: Henry McFly!

Jenny: And then Burton “I Like to Sing Spice Girls in the Shower” Guster

Dule: Oh, wow.

Jenny: And then Chocolate Thunder.

James: Always.

Jenny: And then, my personal favorite, because I could totally see Shawn doing this is introducing him as Burton Ernie.

Dule: Pretty crafty.

Jenny: Anyway so that ties in with my first question. For both of you, what’s the favorite name that Shawn has call – what’s your favorite name that Shawn has called Gus?

Dule: For myself it’s always been the one I think from Season 1, which may have been the first or second episode, where he called me Gus “Silly-Pants” Jackson. You know, I – because when he first threw that out it kind of caught me off guard first of all because I believe that was one that was just off the top of his head. And it cracked me up. I just thought it was a hilarious thing. And, you know, we’re big fans of Stoney Jackson over here so that kind of…

James: Yes, we are.

Dule: Stoney and the Silly-Pants, you know.

James: That’s the one that sort of kicked it all off. So I think it’s always going to be special for us since everything sort of sprang from that.

Jenny: Do you guys get a say in those or do they come already in the script?

James: Oh, sure. They definitely come in the script now but any time we can top what’s there, we don’t hesitate. Everyone’s in on the fun now.

Jenny: Are you guys having a Christmas-themed episode and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

James: Yes. We are returning to holiday Yule entertainment this season. I actually directed our Christmas episode and I can tell you that it’s pretty out there. It’s our sort of bizarro take on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Shawn learns what everybody would be doing if he had never come back to Santa Barbara.

But it’s – but prepare yourselves because it’s not “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s something different and the only thing I can guarantee is that you’ll get to see the characters that you’ve grown to know and love in ways that you never thought you’d see them.

Regarding the “will they, won’t they” thing between Shawn & Juliet that has always been a part of the show, and if they are now actually going there, were there tons of discussions about it or did it just happen now?

James: I think there’s always been plenty of discussion. But I think, you know, first on the list is when is the time to do it. So I think those things sort of came to a head and everybody was on the same page that five years of “will they or won’t they” was enough and that it was time to throw a curve ball and mix things up, cross our fingers and hope for the best.

About some of the upcoming episodes and storylines

James: Well, let’s see. Upcoming episodes first. We’ve spoken about” Extradition.” We’ve spoken about “Twin Peaks.” We’ve…

Dule: We have “Police Academy.”

James: …spoken about Christmas. We do have a “Police Academy” episode which features Ralph Macchio who we mentioned. Shawn and Gus have to save a polar bear that may or may not be being framed for murder. We have an episode in a haunted house in an amusement park.

Dule: Right.

James: Probably the closest we will ever come to embodying the cast of “Scooby-Doo.”
And then we do – we bring home the Yin-Yang Trilogy. That will be our finale where everything comes out in the wash. Pretty packed, pretty solid winter.
As far as – I mean I can tease – I can actually tease that at some point next season we’ll be doing vampires.

Dule: I have a feeling Gus will have a chance to say, “Oh, Sookie.” [Note from Jenny: Hearing Dule say this was brilliant and hysterical.]

James: Yes. We can probably work that in there.

We’ve been talking about a musical forever. That’s up on the board. Baseball has been on the board for awhile. I think it’s probably time to make that happen as well.

Regarding Larisa Oleynik’s character from the werewolf episode could come back in the vampire episode:

James: Somebody has a little thing for Larisa Oleynik, huh?

We dug Larisa. That was a lot of fun. She had a fun character. She got to wear a nose ring. Not that many people who come on site can say that. But yes, I guess it could possibly work since they’re all into the occult and whatnot we could bring back Josh Malina too.

Dule: That’s right.

On what they think makes Shawn and Gus relationship work so well since they are such polar opposites:

Dule: I think you just answered it right there. I think they fill each other out. They both bring each other to the center. You know, one is extremely to the right and one is extremely to the left and they balance each other out. I think without their relationship they would both be too far in either direction. I think Shawn would be doing something – I mean Shawn his life would be a long time ago spin out of control and Gus would be a hermit going to work, going home.

On what reality show Shawn and Gus would go on together or separately:

Dule: “Amazing Race.”

James: Oh, yes. Absolutely. And they would win.

Dule: Yes, they would.

James: They would win.

No “Bachelor” for Gus and giving out pineapples instead of roses?

Dule: I mean sure that’s a possibility. Sure. But I mean the first show would definitely be “The Amazing Race.” But…

James: If a character every deserved to go and be the bachelor, I think it’s Gus though.

Dule: It would be Gus, right.

How do you think your relationship with Lassiter is going to change now that, you know, they are working together more and he sees how well Shawn is working, you know, helping solve the Yin case and stuff like that?

James: You know what, he’s watched us solve, what, 80 murders. He hasn’t softened up to us yet. Something tells me he’s never quite going to.

Dule: I think with Lassiter it’s less about – for him the issue is not about the outcome it’s more about the process. He doesn’t respect our process.

What character dead or alive would you like to bring back?

James: Well kick it off from Season 1, I think I’d love to bring back Adam Hornstock, Esq., a character played by Michael Weston. There’s bound to be a way that Shawn and Gus need legal advice. So I think that’s pretty easy to do.

Dule: And I wouldn’t mind bringing back – I forgot his actual name on the show Malcolm from…

James: Oh, Wally.

Dule: Yes. Wally. Wally from the “Pimp My Ride” episode because I just enjoyed doing the scenes with him where he was just talking in circles. He wasn’t really making any kind of sense. That would be someone I would like to see come back.

On what they would like to see Shawn and Gus do more of:

Dule: I would like to see Gus obviously release some tension. Honestly, I would say I wouldn’t mind seeing Gus do a little bit more dating, you know, but expanding his horizon outside the Psych office.

James: I would say I’d like to see Shawn and Gus use their wits like at a three-to-one ratio over their legs.

Psych is filled with ‘80s references, so if you could change things up and switch to another decade for a season, which one would you choose and give me some examples of what the episode would cover.

Dule: I would say the ‘70s and probably have something – you know, some references dealing with Melvin Van Peebles, something having to do with “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.”

James: I second that.

On how Shawn and Juliet’s relationship is going to affect Gus and Shawn’s relationship:

James: Well we deal with it right away and I think Shawn probably didn’t give Gus nearly enough credit for knowing that eventually something of that nature was probably going to happen. So it’s possible that Shawn sort of built it up in his head that it’s going to be a way bigger deal than it is. Although, I don’t know. I can’t really remember. Do you remember, Dule?

Dule: Yes, I mean I remember how it affects our relationship.

James: Yes. There’s not like a – there’s no major fallout.

Dule: Yes. I don’t think there will be a major fallout (at least). We’ll see what happens going into Season 6 but Season 5, I don’t think you see any major fallout. It’s something that I think Gus has prepared himself for for awhile. I mean at some point he knew that Shawn and Juliet were going to get together.

If we had to wait five years for them to kiss, how long do we have to wait until they actually go all the way?

James: Well considering that we have been tagged as a family show and are constantly being reminded that key members of our executive team’s children watch our show religiously, I’m going to say that any all-the-wayness that happens will happen very discreetly and off-screen.

But are we to assume that it happens this season?

James: I guess so, yes. I mean talking about two grown adults, so yes that’s probably fair to say.

How does [Henry] feel about Shawn and Juliet getting together now that he’s working at the police station and how does their relation – Shawn and his father’s relationship progress this season?

James: If memory serves, I’m not sure if he ever – I’m not sure he ever wizens up to Shawn and Juliet. I don’t think…

Dule: I don’t think he does.

James: I don’t think he does. I think that’s, you know, it’s – we’re sort of proceeding with great caution on that front. And then as far as our relationship, I will admit I was – I didn’t know how the whole moving him to the police station was going to work but I actually think it worked pretty well because it kind of renewed that antagonism that we had from seasons past where Shawn was always having to look over his shoulder and nothing’s ever good enough and I think it motivates both of them.

And it’s an energy that I thought, you know, always served the show very well and that we got away from sort of in the middle seasons. And I thought it was good to have it back. You know, those two guys are never going to be on the same page but they do find strange twisted ways of appreciating one another. And I think we get to see more of that with Henry in the police station than we did with him, you know, out on his boat or making sandwiches in the kitchen.

On a wish list of guest stars they would like to see on the show:

Dule: I would say I’d love to have Chris Tucker come and do a quick spot. I don’t know if he ever would but I mean, you know, he’s just hilarious to me and it would be great to have him come swing through the show one time.
I doubt it will ever happen but, you know, you can always dream.

James: I’ve been saying David Bowie since the first season so I’ll stick with that until he actually shows up which again may never happen.

But it doesn’t cost us anything to hope, you know what I mean. Hope doesn’t cost like money. Hope is free and it springs eternal. It’s actually Dule who taught me that.

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