If You're A Fan Of "Psych," The Story Behind The Making Of "American Duos" Will Make You Pee Your Pants
Where's Ally Sheedy's award for playing Mr. Yang?
Last week, I had the honor and privilege to sit down with James Roday Rodriguez and Dulé Hill to discuss the latest addition to the Psych Cinematic Universe — Psych 3: This Is Gus — along with their favorite past episodes and anecdotes from the acclaimed and adored series. Here's everything we learned:
1. What was your favorite on-set memory from the set of Psych 3: This Is Gus?
Dulé: Well, I have two. The first one was the first thing we filmed, which was the fight between my character (Burton "Gus" Guster) and Roday's (Shawn Spencer). It was so utterly ridiculous and it just got me right back into what Psych is — so much stupidity and hilarity and it was a lot of fun to shoot. The other one would be the final scene, because, again, it was so ridiculous — seeing Shawn do his nonsense and Selene with everything she had going on, but Imma let Roday finish...
Roday: Yes, I wanna echo everything Dulé just said — that birthing sequence was one of the bigger challenges that we posed to ourselves over the course of the series — only because it was so long and it was all in one location. "Can we keep this funny? Can we make it come to life? Can we earn the 11–12 [script] pages that we allocated to the birth of this child?" I'll also add that there were a couple of scenes that Timothy Omundson (who plays Detective Lassiter) had which were beautiful to watch. He continues to get stronger and stronger, and I don't know any actor who loves to perform as much as Tim does. His passion for acting is through the roof!
Dulé: OK, that's NOT what I thought you were going to say [laughs]. I thought you were going to say the music video! It brought me back to what we did with Psych the series and turning these different escapades into song. To be able to do the video was awesome — we had the entire cast together and I think it was the only day we had everyone together on set. We had a lot of fun and laughed at the ridiculousness — it was all the things I love about Psych.
2. What was it like to reunite with the cast for this third film? SPECIFICALLY, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears.
(Writer's note: In case you're unaware, Shawn is OBSESSED with the band Tears for Fears in Psych, so when he finds out that his episode nemesis Declan Rand is hosting him at his house, Shawn looses all of his marbles. Needless to say, Curt Smith and Tears for Fears is a fan favorite for the Psychos.)
Roday: It's always fun getting the gang back together, because while some of us see each other pretty frequently, it's very rare that all of us are together at the same time. That's one of the things these movies have given us — a chance to come back together as a family.
Curt Smith was not with us in body, because he was having a special birthday, I can't remember what it was, but it was a very old one, in an exotic place. (Writer's note: Curt Smith just turned 60 and he spent that time in Tuscany with his family.) So, we had to shoot all of his scenes via "The Zoom" as is common nowadays. But he delivered in spades, as he always does. It's just such a cool thing that he's a part of the Psych fabric — so random and so awesome.
3. What was your favorite behind-the-scenes memory from shooting Psych the series?
Dulé: I'm going to take it back to Season 1. We were filming the season finale and we were on a soundstage, shooting late into the night, pretty delirious from said late-night shooting, and we were just cracking up and pretending to be Michael Jackson and Roland Orzabal (the other half of Tears for Fears) and singing "Shout" by Tears for Fears. Then we were like, "Wouldn't it be funny if they were a duo?" And then Steve Franks (the creator) saw it, and he was cracking up, and next thing you know, top of Season 2, we did "American Duos" (an episode where Shawn pretended to be Roland and Gus pretended to be Michael).
Roday: This one is really selfish, but there was an episode where Dulé and I had to jump from a boat into the Pacific Ocean. Dulé is not a fan of the colder temperatures, whereas I am the exact opposite of that — I'm an eskimo who doesn't like to sweat — and we were supposed to wear these suits under our clothes to keep us warm — like the ones divers wear. I said to Dulé, "C'mon man, we don't need to wear those suits, it's going to be bulky...just man up, dude. It's not going to be that bad," KNOWING it was going to be that bad. So, Dulé opted not to wear the suit, and when he came up for air, the look on his face [laughs], no words needed to be spoken. I really enjoyed that moment.
Dulé: Needless to say, I did NOT enjoy that moment [laughs].
4. What was your favorite episode of Psych to shoot and what was your favorite episode of Psych to watch?
Dulé: Roday would know the specific name of the episode, but I really enjoyed filming the one with Blackula.
Roday: That episode was aptly titled, "This Episode Sucks."
Dulé: It was so...*Blackula voice* "Make em Bloody Marys." I also enjoyed watching "Office Space." Also, the Yin/Yang episodes...and the "quarter-black" episodes...there are so many.
[Writer's note: the three of us went on a tangent about the absurdity and amazingness of "quarter-black" for several minutes. If you know, you know.]
Roday: My favorite episode to shoot was "Dual Spires." We were able to reunite so many of the original cast members of Twin Peaks, which was my favorite show growing up, so that was just me geeking out externally and internally. I also love watching "Heeeeeeeere's Lassie," because it's amazing watching Tim's performance, especially the scene where he chases Gus and then Gus turns into Shelley Duvall from The Shining...it will never get old.
[Writer's note: The three of us proceeded to geek out over the brilliance and absurdness that is Twin Peaks. For several minutes. I'm not kidding. I'll do you a favor and leave that section out of the transcript.]
5. Who was your favorite Psych guest star?
Roday: I've had all of my friends who act on the show over the course of the series, so setting THEM aside (who include, but are not limited to: Jimmi Simpson, Michael Weston, and Dana Ashbrook), I'd have to go with someone I'd never met before, so I'm going with Ally Sheedy. It was a weird, twisty-turney casting process, we were looking at all genders for Mr. Yang, at one point we thought it was going to be Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner, and it couldn't be further from that. She brought such a unique flavor to the role that only she could bring and it became one of my favorite roles on the show ever.
Dulé: I don't know if you could beat Ally Sheedy. It was cool having Cary Elwes as Despereaux, but I'm going to go beyond the series and into the movies and say that my favorite addition to the Psych cinematic universe is Jazmyn Simon. (Writer's note: Jazmyn is Dulé's onscreen love interest AND IRL wife.)
6. Last, but not least, the Psychos wanna know: where did the pineapple come from?
(Writer's note: The pineapple is the official Psych mascot and there's a hidden pineapple in every episode of the series.)
Dulé: It started in the pilot! The episode ends with Gus agreeing to go somewhere with Shawn and there's just a pineapple on the fridge, like it wasn't planned, I think it was just set decoration, and Roday — the improv genius that he is — picked it up and was like, "Hey, want me to slice this up for the road?" And that's what started the whole thing. If I remember correctly, they were gonna take it out, and then they put it back in, and then they took it out again, but they settled on keeping it.
Roday: And that's how close we were to having a different mascot [laughs].