James Roday, Dulé Hill, Corbin Bernsen, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Steve Franks, Chris Henze & Kelly Kulchak Interviews
July 21, 2011
PSYCH New Episodes in October on USA Network
Photos & Press Conference Room Coverage by Lena Lamoray
PSYCH stars DULÉ HILL, JAMES RODAY, TIMOTHY OMUNDSON, CORBIN BERNSEN, MAGGIE LAWSON, STEVE FRANKS, CHRIS HENZE and KELLY KULCHAK sat down with us at the journalist’s conference table in the press room at Comic-Con to talk about USA Network’s hit show, PSYCH. If you have never seen an episode of PSYCH watch “American Duos” which was directed by John Landis and written by James Roday and Steve Franks and I can assure you that you will immediately fall in love with the show. The cover of “Shout” that Dulé and James performed has been my ringtone ever since that episode aired. That is still my favorite episode of ANY television show. You really need to stop what you are doing and check that episode out. Enjoy the interviews below and the USA Network PSYCH press room was my favorite. I loved taking pictures and speaking with the incredible cast. Get stoked for all new episodes of PSYCH premiering in October only on USA Network.
CORBIN BERNSEN INTERVIEW – Corbin plays Shawn’s dad, Henry Spencer. Corbin was the first to stop by our journalist’s conference table at Comic-Con to talk to us about Henry. While one of the journalists talked about getting our junk together (recorders and notebooks) Corbin said, “Let me get my junk together” and jokingly adjusted his man parts. That is how the PSYCH interview experience began at Comic-Con and it only got better from there. Corbin was so informative and he did the best in terms of putting acting in perspective. He offered up some solid advice that can only be obtained by decades of experience.
Having more fun than any other TV show in the world:
CORBIN BERNSEN: We do! I’m really, really blessed. I’m very lucky that I have been able to do what’s coming up on sixteen years of TV series from L.A. LAW and this of a thirty five year career, half of it being on two shows where I really have a good time. It’s hard enough to get a show on the air, it’s hard enough to keep a show on the air and it’s even harder to keep a show on the air where everyone has a good time all the way through. We do, we are really lucky in that way. I think that is the fun that you see whether it’s in the panel, this room, on the show or if you get lucky enough to be at one of our private parties.
CORBIN BERNSEN: Just get on twitter with Dulé and ask him and Roday where they are at.
Trouble maker of the set:
CORBIN BERNSEN: Sometimes I hear from production that I am, not because of anything but I like to have fun and I get a little loud but not in a bad way. It’s not like I am not coming out of my trailer and that kind of stuff.
Being paternal toward the younger actors:
CORBIN BERNSEN: You know I do find myself, it’s kind of a drag, I do find myself every now and again saying, “Now listen, here is what I’ve learned.” It makes me feel really old and the other half of me feels younger than everybody. You think, you know what I’ve done so much crazier crap than all of you guys put together. I grew up in the 60s so enough said. The one thing I’ve been saying lately a lot because it does get to where this show finds it’s in, I do let everybody know that while you don’t want to just burn out and get cancelled and all of that and you want to go out on a high note, if there is juice in the orange, and lots of it, you keep going because to get another show, to get another show on the air, to get another show on the air that stays for years and that has this kind of fan base and a show that has the fun that we do, whether it is a drama or comedy is so rare. Just make sure that when you call it quits that it is really time to call it quits. Not to mention, and this is what the younger guys don’t know, the minute you go off the air this party is gone. You have some viewers that are like, “Oh, I loved you on L.A. LAW and I like your SEINFELD episode.”
Doing a bit of everything (film wise):
CORBIN BERNSEN: I’ve always went right and left and sometimes to a fault, I keep on pushing stuff and some of it is crap and people will jab you but I have fun. I have a family to support and I just look at it as this is my job and sometimes you are covering us and sometimes you are covering the Academy Awards. You are still doing the same job so people who have this hoity-toity oh I don’t do that, I blew that off a long time ago. I work and the one thing I know is if you just keep working it begets more work. I want to be William Shatner at 80 years old. He’s with Priceline and others.
CORBIN BERNSEN: I have a Corbinpalooza every week of my life. There is no shortage of Corbinpaloozas. Well my mom (Jeanne Cooper) has been on a soap opera (The Young and the Restless) for 35 years. She drives to work every day at 82 years old. Stay in the game. Anybody who is older will tell you that. Stay in the game. I’ll tell you this, you are not going to hit a homerun unless you step up to bat. Step out of the game and I’ll give you a good example, it was by choice and I think a tremendously talented guy, Gene Hackman just stepped out of the game and called it quits. You don’t hear about it anymore. I say that because I wish he were in the game because I would go see anything that he does.
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON and MAGGIE LAWSON INTERVIEW – Timothy plays Carlton Lassiter and Maggie plays Juliet O’Hara. Lassie is my favorite character on the show because I just can’t get enough of his witty charm and delicate blue eyes. It was so much fun to hear all about Lassie from Tim and to get to ask him about my favorite subject, squirrels. Maggie was so sweet and breathtakingly beautiful in person. James Roday is one lucky man and they make such an adorable couple on and off screen.
Lassie getting a lady:
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: Lassie gets a lady. Lassie falls in love and his heart grows three sizes.
Going from dramatic roles like in “Judging Amy” to PSYCH:
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: It’s the greatest gift in the world, to get to mix it up between comedy and drama. That is the whole point and you have got to stay moving otherwise you will die.
MAGGIE LAWSON: Yeah, we have so much fun. It’s all play, right?
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: It’s all play! When a guest star comes up we sort of judge them on if they came to play or not. We’ve been really lucky because we get some really famous people with no attitudes and they see that we are all ready to play and it is not a competition and they let their guard down and it’s good. One of the greatest compliments that I can get as an actor on the show is to have a guest star say, I had the best time here or what a great set this is. We all talk. You always know if you are going to do a show where there are difficult people to work with and you have to urged yourself up for that but we constantly always here that this is the greatest set that they have been on and that Tim is the most talented actor that I’ve ever worked with.
MAGGIE LAWSON: Ha-ha-ha!
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: As Lassiter, I am proud to report that Lassiter finds someone this year. Kristy Swanson comes up to play a girl that he falls for head over heels and she falls for him. It was so fun to play, the other side of this guy and it was like, how does Lassiter act around a girl. How does this softness come about?
MAGGIE LAWSON: I’ll tell you how, very sexy. Yes, very sexy and very smooth.
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: Stop it! It was just unbelievably fun. It was interesting because when Lassiter discovers the old smoocharoo between her (pointing to Maggie) and Shawn his heart broke a little bit. He felt like O’Hara is the greatest relationship in his life and his dearest friend and he feels really betrayed that she didn’t let him in on this thing in her life. I really like how they take care of that. You think that Lassiter is being a dick and then you realize that it actually comes from a very sweet place.
MAGGIE LAWSON: Yeah, I love that. It takes a little time in the beginning for us to find our footing in the relationship but I always say that he’s my number one at work (pointing to Tim). Even if I have a boyfriend or you know, Juliet’s whatever…
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: There is that thing where cops are closer to their partners than their spouses in real life.
Juliet reacting to how Lassiter feels about her relationship:
MAGGIE LAWSON: It takes a minute and it needs to be accepted. Juliet can’t be like, why would you react like this because he’s my partner and he knows everything about me and he didn’t know this. His feelings are hurt and they should be.
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: I really love the final moment with Lassiter and Shawn at the end of the episode.
Relationship with squirrels:
TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: I think they taste like chicken. You know I will tell you a little story, maybe not that funny but when they first came up with the Lassiter hates squirrels line I was not that into it. I was really, I mean that seems a little extreme, Lassiter killing animals and they were like, no it’s funny. I said, alright I’ll do it but I was very reluctant and it just really took off. I guess a lot of people friggin hate squirrels.
MAGGIE LAWSON: Yeah, it was funny.
JAMES RODAY INTERVIEW – James plays Shawn Spencer and he is also responsible for writing and directing some of my favorite episodes. I have spoken to him so many times over the years that it was great to finally meet him in person and discuss my two favorite subjects David Bowie and PSYCH. James has always given David Bowie as the answer to who he wants to guest star in the show. Maybe David Bowie will come to terms with PSYCH’S awesomeness and he will answer the call of greatness to be involved in the legendary show. Could you imagine David Bowie reuniting with spandex to bring us a “Labyrinth” Goblin King PSYCH episode? I know that would make television history and if anyone could pull it off it would be Roday and the cast of PSYCH.
Fun on the set:
JAMES RODAY: As much as you probably imagine and more. It’s a miracle that not only do we have that much fun but we have been able to sustain it for as long as we have.
JAMES RODAY: We are pretty loose and everybody is in on it. They come up scripted and then we will come up with new ones. One of the many great things about our show is how fluid it is. You kind of just do whatever you want to do and then when they get it in the editing room they pick the best ones. At the end we show you the ones that you didn’t get to see so you get to see everything.
Writing and directing:
JAMES RODAY: I along with Todd Harthan wrote our vampire episode which I also directed. I’ll be teaming up with Steve to do an episode that may or may not be a tribute to a movie that was based on a board game. I’m not giving you any more hints. (CLUE)
JAMES RODAY: This year it was an especially good experience for me because yes it’s a vampire episode and there are plenty of vampire bits and I don’t think you will be disappointed but at the heart of it is a love story between Lassiter and a character played by Kristy Swanson. After the first day we were just like that is all we cared about is wow, we are watching Lassiter in a brand new way and it doesn’t feel forced. Tim is magnificent in the episode and it kind of took on a life of its own. It will be promoted as a vampire episode but for me it ended up being a lot more than that. I’m very proud of the work that Tim and Kristy did and I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to pull off a Lassiter centric story in a very sort of believable way even though it is unbelievable. When you see it you will know what I mean.
Kristy being a slayer:
JAMES RODAY: She is always a slayer. We didn’t write her as a slayer but Swanson slays. You can’t take the slayer out of Swanson. She was great and it was a joy for me to just kind of sit back and watch that happen.
The quest to get David Bowie:
JAMES RODAY: We keep on trying. We usually get an answer from a manager or an agent. The man is essentially retired, like he’s kind of retired and he will make appearances here and there but one of us would need to be really tight with him I think. I’m never going to give up hope but the flame is not as strong as it once burnt. We still love him though. We can still love him. He also doesn’t live anywhere near since he’s off in like Europe somewhere. (He could still visit Canada.) He could it is beautiful in the summertime and you could probably have a lovely trip.
More with Shawn’s dad:
JAMES RODAY: It started off really kind of prominent in the show and then it kind of took a backseat to some other stuff but I think it is time that we revisited it again. It is an important relationship on the show and it’s a huge part of the mythology of PSYCH. We are doing some stuff with Henry this year that is taking us in the direction of some new territory which I think is good and a little overdue. I feel good about that.
STEVE FRANKS , CHRIS HENZE and KELLY KULCHAK INTERVIEW – Steve is the creator, writer, director and executive producer of PSYCH and he is really tall. His height had to be addressed because the man is 6’ 7” and WOW is all I have to say about that. I’m sure his height helped him to create one of the best comedies on television because what else are you going to do when you are that tall except play basketball and write alone in your room. Seriously, it was great to meet the giant creative genius in person. Chris Henze and Kelly Kulchak are the producers of PSYCH.
STEVE FRANKS: It’s disturbing how huge I am.
Lassiter’s love interest:
STEVE FRANKS: Isn’t that cool and in the most surprising way. It actually ruins the episode if you know how it comes about but it is one of the sweetest, weirdest love stories you have ever seen. It’s a very nice episode that James wrote and directed, our vampire episode titled, “This Episode Sucks.”
CHRIS HENZE: Sometimes we don’t title the episodes until later so and it was easier because sometimes they have titles like Steve’s that he is about to direct like “Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy Rusty Old Sword.” Sometimes we just call it the Indiana Jones episode when we are shorthanding things.
STEVE FRANKS: James wrote the episode with Todd Harthan who is having an all-star season on our writing staff. Todd wrote the William Shatner episode and he is also writing the last one that we are shooting this year with Jennifer Lynch directing which is going to be real exciting for us. James very smartly realized that he was going to be behind the camera so he needed to sort of make it a Lassie story. Our way into this vampire world is through Lassiter’s eyes and along the way he happens to meet a woman who is perfect for him and wrong for him for all the eternal reasons that happen sometimes when you are dealing with vampires.
Giving movies we love a PSYCH twist:
STEVE FRANKS: Doing the basic cable version of them is what we call it. We love it. For us we are fans. We are movie fans and we love classic genres so for me it’s like there is no movie I love more than “Raiders of the Lost Ark” so for me to dress Shawn up and give him a whip and chases and big stunts and fist fights, it’s like YES. “Jaws” was the same way and The Mummy episode so as long as I get to do it. James is a huge horror fan so we did “Tuesday the 17th” together then “Scary Sherry” and then he did Werewolf with Todd and Vampire with Todd so we get to exercise things that we really love. I think that because we love the things that we are doing and it is sort of touching on those worlds that it comes across in the final product. It’s not just, Oh God, it’s another “CSI: Miami” where there is another mutilated body out there in the dumpster. It’s like YES it’s a mutilated body. We are out there going, alright how do we get Shawn to swing across a crevasse with a whip so it is much more fun.
Other centric episodes this season:
STEVE FRANKS: Baseball, we have Danny Glover and we are doing a mental institution and that is where Gus falls in love with a mental patient. A hippy commune that might be a cult so they have to go in and investigate.
CHRIS HENZE: People are living in this eco-friendly farming community and it is all very strange and they have to investigate it.
STEVE FRANKS: And Gus falls for the very lovely Barrett. What happens is everybody is paired up in the show. Lassiter has got a girlfriend, Shawn is paired up with Juliet and Gus is feeling very left out so he ups the search for a lady to someone disastrous, a little too overzealous and we are milking the comedic aspect out of that probably more than we should. Gus will be fawning over a lot of girls hoping for any kind of love.
Cupid finally hitting PSYCH:
STEVE FRANKS: I guess so. It only took us five years to get Shawn and Juliet together and the Lassiter thing happened as a nice offshoot to the episode. Gus’ search has been eternal. You can go back and he is always sniffing some girl inappropriately. He has the super sniffer or super smeller so therefore he is always enjoying someone’s lovely scent.
STEVE FRANKS: I should have been shooting it on Monday but I went up and shot this episode with Malcolm McDowell and it is really fun. Shawn gets diplomatic immunity in this episode and I said as soon as I get back I can start working on the musical and I am going to close my office door and I am just going to work on that. As soon as I got back everybody was basically attacking me with we need this and that. I realized I have my other job and I got no work done on the musical so I am doing it for season seven. That is my plan and I promise I will make the same apology next year if I fail to do it, I will do it in season eight. I have said season seven more times than I should.
Shawn and Gus traveling and culinary choices:
STEVE FRANKS: We do a “Hangover” type episode where they all wake up from the night before and Kurt Fuller’s face is covered in a white powder so the story hinges on that. They do eat a lot of jerk chicken and a lot of churros.
CHRIS HENZE: Shawn also likes what he likes. We’ve seen Shawn try Indian food and it didn’t go well.
DULÉ HILL INTERVIEW – Dulé plays Gus but he is a man with many names thanks to HIS sidekick, Shawn. Gus is my second favorite character in the show since Lassie has already claimed first place. I love how awkward Gus is around women and the sweet way he says “Hello.” Who doesn’t want Gus to say “Hello” to them in that special way? Meeting Dulé in person was an awesome experience and he was the only the one that took the time to shake hands. Let me tell you, forget about LL Cool J because Dulé Hill is where it is at. The ladies love him and I have to admit I was captivated by his endearing charm. Dulé is like a whirlwind of awesomeness and one of the main reasons not to miss an episode of PSYCH.
DULÉ HILL: Love interestsssss…It’s a lot of Gus swinging from the fences and he falls in love with anybody that gives him any kind of attention. You can say hello to him and he’s like, “yes” and he dives in and he dives in hard. I think you are going to enjoy seeing him put the effort in. He’s going to strike out a lot. That’s what I wanted this year. I actually wanted Gus to strike out. I wanted him to make a lot of attempts and swings and misses. At some point he will eventually hit a homerun and then he will feel good so it will be a lot of fun.
Perspective on Lassiter getting a girlfriend:
DULÉ HILL: He doesn’t really get jealous. If anything he would be more affected by Shawn and Juliet than Lassiter and his girlfriend, especially when you start finding out how Lassiter’s relationship is actually built. I don’t think he is really jealous of Lassiter’s set-up at this particular point.
Gus as a pharmaceutical salesman:
DULÉ HILL: You don’t see it too much in the first half of the season. I would like to see more of it myself.
Wrecking Gus’s Car:
DULÉ HILL: We all basically wreck my car. In the “Hangover” episode something pretty big happens. The blueberry is on life support for a while there.
Being directed by James Roday:
DULÉ HILL: I love it. I think that he is a great director and he is a wonderful actor. He gets the language and how to talk to an actor. He doesn’t overshoot and he doesn’t undershoot either. He knows the proper way of getting enough takes to get what you want and to feel like you got the freedom but not too many and not too little. I love him. If I could have Roday direct half of the episodes I would love it.