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Psych Interviewby Pattye Grippo    
Psych

This is a transcript of an Interview with James Roday and Steve Franks on July 7, 2010 about the show Psych.

Question:
How is the Juliet relationship is going to change now that your father is in the police station?

James Roday:
You know what; I'm wisely and sagely yielding all Juliet questions to Steve Franks. Because he's the only one that knows what's going to happen or what he's got going on in the gigantic brain of his. And I'd also like to kick things off by saying, you know, we're doing a lot of these calls and we enjoy them but it's always been a little difficult for Steve because he's naturally a large Frenchman with a very thick French accent and he's always had to do these calls covering the accent. He has to work very, very hard to sound American so that you can hear him in a clear and distinct way and I think it would be fun if just once, one time, on one call, for one question, we let him speak in his normal voice. And I propose he answer this question as himself. I think it's only fair I should do this.

Steve Franks:
This is me getting myself in trouble because I've been discussing in the pre-call how I wanted to do the entire call with a thick French accent and James is calling me out on it right now. You know what, I feel we have limited time so I'm going to save the French accent for the end and let's just say it's Clouseau - it's Clouseau caliber.

So to answer your question and to get something done because I have a feeling James and I are going to be off the cuff for most of this, I think the - Henry being in a police station is - it's changing Shawn in a lot of different ways that don't necessarily directly affect his relationship with Juliet but Henry is there to sort of push Shawn to be the copy he's always wanted to.

And Shawn then is force to up his game a little bit so it's like the most direct forcing of Shawn to sort of grow up that we've done. And, you know, we've always said that the Shawn and Juliet development is all about Shawn being ready for Juliet and we think he's getting really close.

So there's going to be movement in all those directions this year. And I know we've dog paddled around it for quite a while but we're going to stop the dog paddling and actually start floating slowly with the current.

James Roday:
He also starts using deodorant this year. Isn't that right.

Steve Franks:
Well, that's the season finale. James throws in an Axe body spray reference. We've never scripted one but they seem to pop in. So I think Shawn is actually sort of always had good, healthy hygiene. Right.

James Roday:
It's because Axe is magic in aerosol form.

Question:
And James we know a little bit about a co-star that's going to be coming on as a guest. Is there anyone else you can give away as maybe some guest stars.

James Roday:
Let's see. Let me sort of roll film in my head quickly. We kicked it off with Jean Smart and John Michael Higgins who were both lovely and very funny and fit I thought well into the lanDISCape of our show. We worked with a lot of wonderfully, physically adept Asian Canadians in our Kung Fu premier. We have Freddy Prinze Jr. rolling through. We've got Carl Weather and Bill Devane teaming up for what I think might be one of the funniest episodes we've done in a while. They were both fantastic and they just killed it in a good way. When I say killed it, I mean they slayed it like you would slay a dragon - a sleeping dragon; let's be honest. One Peter McNichol can slay live dragons. Steve, who am I forgetting?

Steve Franks:
Well, first of all, you're forgetting Brad Radner.

James Roday:
I'm forgetting Brad - how could I forget Brad Radner, my dear friend from college.

Steve Franks:
Brad Radner's been trying to get on the show for five years and finally succeeded. We have Adam Rodriguez.

James Roday:
Adam Rodriguez is awesome and cool and looks great in the leather jacket.

Steve Franks:
And we have gosh - I'm trying to figure out who you've named that we haven't.

James Roday:
Right now we've got Nester Carbonell up here who is just as sculpted in person as he probably appeared on Lost. He's timeless and his face is sweet and his hair is sweet and he's a very sweet man as well. So I guess we're the lucky ones right now because we've got him. He's actually sitting on my lap with his hand over his mouth right now giggling and blushing.

Question:
I'm sure Dule is harboring some jealous thoughts at the moment.

James Roday:
He probably is.

Steve Franks:
But Dule is actually always harboring jealous thoughts. It's pretty much - it encompasses his daily thought process from morning till night.

James Roday:
I believe they're usually about food as opposed to people though.

Steve Franks:
Yeah. Exactly. It's like who got that peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I didn't.

James Roday:
Yeah.

Question:
Steve, we talked to another show runner last week and he talked about how, you know, oftentimes the casting will sort of, you know, change how the characters were originally sort of conceived into what they actually become. And I'm just thinking, you know, I know a lot of people in Hollywood. A lot of different actors. I can't think of one person who would have been better for this role than James and I think that's true with a lot of your cast. So just tell me a little bit about what they continue to bring to the table, you know, year after year.

Steve Franks:
I can't think of anybody else who's better for the part than James except for Christine Glover. I think that would have been an interesting choices James don't you think.

James Roday:
I think that's fair. I think that's fair. I think Christopher Lee would have been fair too.

Steve Franks:
You know, we had Chris Lee come in and he just - he wanted to do all his own stunts and it was just weird. It wasn't - for us, you know, we went on a search.

I've talked about this a little bit before but I didn't really know much about making a television program when it started but I knew that I liked to work with good people. And so for me it was like we wanted to find somebody that was, you know, we wanted - you know, there's this whole offer only thing and I wanted to sit down and talk with the person and know the person and realize what I was getting into for the next five years. And, you know, James came in and re-defined the character for me.

It wasn't so much finding what I was looking for in such a big and great way. And but my first level was do I like this guy. Do I like this person and as decent as a human being as you can find out there, and just, I don't know, you know it's been like a great partnership this whole time to, you know - all - you know, I invite James into the writing room.

We wrote together in the first season. He's directed episodes. It's like we sort of have, you know, gone hand in hand. I mean literally sometimes hand in hand through the set and, you know, it freaks out the crew sometimes but it's a good solidarity thing.

And you know I feel so, you know, so lucky that you know we saw a lot of people that I always thought these words were, you know pretty straight forward how to say them. And then I found out that there were very few people that pulled it off the way that at least I imagined at the time when I wrote it. And James not only pulled it off, you know, exactly how I wanted it. He added what I didn't think I knew that I wanted at the time. How about that James. Huh?

James Roday:
I think it's pretty solid and it's touching and the truth is in India, men walk around holding hands all the time. It doesn't mean anything. You know, it's just - it's fellowship and, you know, they're not really allowed to touch women, you know, in public so, you know, they touch each other and it's fine.

And nobody thinks anything weird about it. And that was sort of our inspiration to walk the set hand in hand. We didn't just - we just wanted to let you know that there was like a back story to it.

Question:
James, you mentioned a minute ago the episode with Carl Weathers and William Devane and that sounds like it's going to be just completely, you know, hilarious and wonderful. And I'm wondering what is there interaction going to be exactly with Shawn and Gus. I've heard rumors and things here and there but what can you tell us about how that's going to play out?

James Roday:
They teach us how to get the most out of our sexual performance. No. The truth is they sort of - they're a team. We're a team. We in a very unlikely series of events have to end up sort becoming a foursome, as opposed to two twosomes in order to solve a heinous crime that affected one of Santa Barbara's most respected pillars of society whom they have a history with and everybody is fond of.

And it basically just, you know, without being like really on the nose, it's kind of like this, you know, this glimpse into Shawn and Gus's fairly distant future and we just had a - we just had a blast with those guys. They each brought their own little thing to the roles and the script was very funny. I've got to give my boy Todd Harvan a shout. He wrote a very funny script and these guys came in and knocked it out of the park.

Question:
Steve, I've heard a little bit about what's going to happen with Shawn and Juliet and Henry moving forward. So what can you tell us about maybe some of the storylines going on this season with Gus and Lassiter?

Steve Franks:
They're actually doing absolutely nothing the whole season. They're just kind of there. The great thing is there's probably one of my favorite Lassiter episodes happens early. I think we're airing it second and it's Lassiter and Gus actually team up on a certain case and it's a - I don't know if this is giving away too much. It's our tap-dancing episode where you get to see Dule actually do the thing that he was first famous for.

And Dule actually starts taking a tap class and Lassiter, because of his - because he's been going to a therapist and has been trying to find some ways to manage his anger ends up tagging along and it starts to open up Lassiter's head a little bit. The two of them end up teaming up on a case and Shawn becomes insanely jealous of course and he's been sort of putting down Juliet.

So we team up Lassiter and Gus and it's really fun to see those two guys together and see what the other half of our two teams do when they're - and how they treat each other. So I think that's our - that's sort of our sort of tent pole moment for Lassiter and Gus in the first half.

Otherwise, other than that, it's you know, Gus wants a girlfriend. He needs a girlfriend. I don't know if he's getting one right away but he's certainly going to have a date as a ready - and not too far off. And Lassiter's just sort of dealing with, you know, we start the season off where with Juliet taking a short leave after being hung off the building in the end episode.

And so Lassiter is sort of taking over himself and he gets a little chance to be free as a cop and we'll see how that positively and negatively affects him.

Question:
James, do you see a lot of what happened at the end of last year with the Yin and Yang thing affecting Keon earlier this season. And on kind of another note, what's the craziest thing you've done so far this year. Anything similar to the Spanish soap opera?

James Roday:
Well I think what we're trying to sort of play the idea that Yin kind of affected everybody. You kind of want to play up so that the gravity of what that experience was the fact that we live in Santa Barbara and that it was pretty heavy stuff and so they can kind of inform, you know, everybody's little journey as we head towards finishing it which will also be this season.

I think we're trying to drop as many kind of - as many sort of (temples) as we can for why Shawn is sort of reevaluating his life and how he lives it and if he needs to sort of make some changes. And the Yin thing is sort of a catalyst for that, as well as for Juliet, and you know and for Gus, you know, too.

You know, one of my favorite moments of the series is at the very end of the end when Gus is on the phone and it's, you know, it's that sort of short from way up above where he looks really small and he's on the phone and he just realized wow, Gus the pharmaceutical salesman has really come a long way. I'll be he didn't have this in his head, you know, four years ago.

So, you know, I think it's sort of - it's affected everybody as much as it can on a silly, breezy, irreverent comedy who dunit. And as far as craziness, this season so far - let's see.

I just participated fully in a Kung Fu battle. Steve directed a premier and I just, you know, I went at it with some highly trained marshal artists, in the marshal art's studio and, you know, and I got my butt kicked but it was fun.

And, you know, I actually did it myself as opposed to giggling with Steve and watching my stuntmen do it. So that was just - that was the closest thing to crazy. And you know what, I don't get that crazy anymore man. I'm getting older Mattie. I chose my battles a little more carefully these days.

Steve Franks:
James, I just watched you racing against Adam Rodriguez in Henry's supped up truck and that is so - I saw the cut last night. And it is so funny. You know, we have a Fast and the Furious episode coming up.

James Roday:
That's pretty funny.

Steve Franks:
That scene when you guys hit the (unintelligible) broadside, oh my God. That's probably coming up fourth or fifth this year. Boy, that's really funny. And Matt to add to that, the - James - shooting James with our team of Kung Fu stunt guys was one of the great singular pleasures of my life.

It was really, really fun and so funny. And yeah. They worked out an entire routine and James ran through the whole thing himself and he's swinging on punching bags and picking up weapons and it's just - we shot Kung Fu stuff over two days and we had one afternoon where there were actually five memorable sight gags that all could make our main titles and it was just one of the best times ever and I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as all the silly, great falls and all the things that we did jumping into fences and - I can't wait for people to see the premiere.

Question:
Going back to talking about guest stars, how do you guys kind of prepare them to fit into kind of the lunacy of the show. I mean you guys did a great job with John Sena last year but what do you actually do with people that are coming in who have never been on the show before?

Steve Franks:
We sedate them heavily and then we sort of - it's like a mentoring candidate sort of thing. We have a hypnotist come in and that way we're pulling the strings. We're calling shots. No, you know, we send them episodes. You know, we lucked into a lot of our guest stars actually being familiar with the show; whether they watch it or their kids watch it.

So a lot of times, you know, we just get lucky and they sort of get it and if we really want somebody who has no idea who we are and what our show is, you know, we'll send them like a nice sampling of what we've done over the years so that they, you know, they come up with some idea of what they're in store for. And then our set's pretty much been the same for four years now.

So, you know, they get there and after about half a day, they sort of get like oh, wow, it's really loose. These guys like to have fun. They mess with each other. Everybody's incredibly self-deprecating. It's pretty easy to fit in. And, you know, they get comfortable pretty quickly.

Question:
James are you going to be able to revisit the WWE event because I know you didn't make it this past year. Are you going to do another one maybe?

James Roday:
We're sort of - you know, I've been sort of in contact with those guys and you know they've said absolutely, let's make it happen. And I've said absolutely, let's make it happen. So hopefully yes. It would be great fun for me and a childhood dream come true. So, you know, fingers crossed. Maybe it'll shake down later this year.

Question:
Tim Omundson told me last year that he has the hardest job on the show above all the cast members because he's not even allowed to crack a smile when Roday does something silly, when Dule does something silly. Do you agree with him or is he inflating his importance or how hard his job is and do ya'll target him to make him laugh.

James Roday:
It depends on what time of day it is and how many shots we have left quite frankly. Tim's job is difficult because he does always have to keep a straight face. It's supplemented by the fact that he's not very good at keeping a straight face.

So it does make him an easy - it does make him an easy target but it's gotten to the point now where it's sort of like, you know, if you walk by and see a baby holding a Kit Kat and you come away with the Kit Kat like oh, wow. You know what I mean - like who's really impressed.

Like you took a Kit Kat from a child whose basic motor skills are just starting to develop. That's kind of what it's become, you know, making Tim bust up in the middle of a take. It's just not as satisfying as it used to be and it's actually gotten a little sad if I'm being honest.

Steve Franks:
And just as a matter of clarification, I don't think it's a good idea to give a Kit Kat to a toddler; especially like a really young baby because I mean they don't have teeth. It's kind of a crispy cracker in the middle of those. Yeah. I mean I think that yeah. The baby probably wouldn't even know what it was inside. You know, it probably would be less interested and probably would be just kind of sucking on the paper.

James Roday:
Yeah.

Question:
James, Any good inspired Gus nicknames that pop into your head from this season?

James Roday:
We just knocked out in the Ho Tips. He who cometh in peace.

Steve Franks:
That was pretty funny.

James Roday:
I tend to sort of let them go after we do them so that I can be surprised by them again when I hear them when they air but I can tell you that we've done, you know, we've done at least one in every episode so far and there will be some winners. There'll be some tens - there'll be some nines and there might be one four. But we haven't done the four yet.

Question:
Steve, when he started whipping out the Gus nicknames, your response was you know like what the hell's he doing or that's great or what?

Steve Franks:
I think the first one was in the Speaking Out, Forever Hold Your Peace; the second episode we shot. And I think even in the Hotel Room and this was my - God, I can't even remember but it was scripted as something else and I was kind of like what the heck was that but it was actually kind of appropriate to the setting. And then it was really funny.

And we didn't catch on until God the middle of - or the end of the first season that it was something that we should actually use to mine territory. We have one or two bits that tend to sort of float to the top each year. We call them floaters. No we don't.

Question:
=My favorite Shawn and Gus moment of all is when Shawn went boneless. Was that scripted or was that just made up.

James Roday:
That was a Steve Franks special. You don't go boneless and then you said to figure out what don't go boneless meant and my take on it was just, you know, what kids do when they don't want to leave someplace or they don't want to do something and they just go completely limp. I figured it was some version of that since Steve does have children of his own and it just looks really funny when a grown man does it.

Steve Franks:
And I'm basing it on those people that like do the sit ins, you know, whether it's at the logging company or at the nuclear power plant and the cops come to arrest them and they all - they all just, you know, they go limp and I was trying to figure out what the term for that would be and then boneless just seemed so funny. And what really struck me as funny about it is the fact that when Gus says don't you dare go boneless, it's a term that Shawn immediately would know and has utilized in his life.

I have to tell you that overhead shot of him being drugged down the hallway after going boneless is one of my favorite moments of this show and of television altogether.

Question:
James, did I hear you right. Is this really going to be the final season?

James Roday:
No. If I said that, I didn't mean to. I think I was referring specifically to finishing the Yin Yang trilogy, not the show.

Question:
Everything is so fresh. It always remains fresh every season. What is it that keeps both you and Dule's performances great and the writing so great? I mean what is it? I mean is there a secret or is it just happens.

James Roday:
Well. I mean I don't know. You know what, I think it's one of those planets aligned - a great group got together with great material and people actually watched it - situations where everyone from, you know, from you know the writer's room through our execs into Vancouver where we shoot recognizes what a rare opportunity it is to be a part of an experience like this and does not want to let go.

I think that's what sort of motivates us to, you know, to come in every day as if it's still the first season and you know just keep that sort of Kung Fu death grip that we have on this show because we realize this could be as good as it gets for all of us.

It's such a collaborative process; especially on our show that, you know, it effects the writers too. I mean they see how much fun we have. They want us to have fun. They get to come up and Steve is sort of an unprecedented show runner in that he allows - there's so much autonomy. You know, writers get to come up and produce their own episodes. I mean it's an opportunity that, you know, you're just not going to find and again I think they recognize that as well.

You know, our staff with few exceptions are incredibly experienced and have come, you know, have long, impressive resumes. And all of them will tell you like they've never worked on a show like this before.

They've never been able to just, you know, pull an idea out of the deep recesses of their anus and have the show runners say yeah man. Go give it a shot. And then get to come up and produce it and watch it happen. I mean it's a really special thing that we have going on here; aside from the fact that in terms of just the personalities, a lot of people hate each other.

Question:
What 80s reference are both of you looking forward to this season?

Steve Franks:
I think I know exactly which one we are. We are going to bring on the living embodiment of an 80s reference. Actually we're shooting it this week. And we're actually going to have Curt Smith from Tears for Fears not only mentioned on the show as he has been numerous times. He's actually going to be on the show as himself and rerecording the theme song which I think is the one I'm looking forward the most. James.

James Roday:
Ditto. Ditto. Echo and put it in the box.

Steve Franks:
My other favorite ones are you'll see multiple, multiple Karate Kid references in the Kung Fu episode. Some that will slide by 99% of the audience. Actually not multiple, multiple. Maybe just a handful. But my favorite reference is one that James added from Karate Kid Two during the big finale fight scene.

James Roday:
We also pay amage to Carl Weathers in his episode very subtly and very quickly. If you're not paying attention, you might miss it. He's in the scene though. That's your hint.

Steve Franks:
That's even better. Yeah.

Question:
James I read in past interviews that you're a big Twin Peaks fan and I was wondering would we ever see like a Twin Peaks inspired episode of Psych or would that be too kind of esoteric and if not that, would we see any other kind of themed episodes because last season you guys did like the Hitchcock and the Jaws episode so I was just kind of wondering about that?

James Roday:
This really is your lucky week. You know what, we've had a Twin Peaks episode on sort of simmering like a sauce - like a fine Italian sauce. Which is actually not completely dissimilar to Steven Izone sauces that we decided to go ahead and move onto the front burner this season and it's happening. So there you have it my man. Esoteric.

Steve Franks:
And the answer to your question is episode twelve. We're shooting it twelfth this year. I don't know where it will air but James is co-writing it with Bill Callahan.

James Roday:
Well, I have these terribly high expectations for our Twin Peaks episode and I will do everything I can to deliver something that will be both gratifying for diehard fans, casual fans and even people who are completely unfamiliar with the series, we promise to deliver a good mystery and an episode with plenty of laughs so that they don't feel left out.

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