CCI: Psych Cast and Crew Talk
Season 7 and ‘Shafts of Light’
Wearing sunglasses handed out by USA Network, the crowd at Comic-Con International cheered and laughed as it watched blooper reels and sneak previews, and received hilarious answers to obscure questions from the cast and producers of Psych
Tim Omundson, who plays Carlton Lassiter on the show, introduced stars James Roday (Shawn Spencer), Dulé Hill (Burton “Gus” Guster), Maggie Lawson (Juliet O’Hara), Kirsten Nelson (Chief Karen Vick), and eventually Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer, who arrived later for reasons that will be explained shortly). They were accompanied by much of the creative team, including executive producers Steve Franks, Kelly Kulchak, and Chris Henze.
Omundson gave cans of pineapple juice to each of the panelists, representing the pineapple that covertly appears in every episode. He explained that this year’s panel would be a little more casual.
Hill made sure to mention that his new nickname is the Dark Knight. “That’s my new one, that just started today,” he said, explaining that his other nickname is “Senior Vice President of On-Set Social Media, or something like that.”
Omundson presented a few scenes from the upcoming season, including the mysterious 100th episode. The clip included glimpses on an episode in which Gus gets a girlfriend, a Clue board game-themed episode, and finally a series of dramatic scenes in which Henry is shot by someone from his past and the rest of the team hunts down his assailant.
After the clip, in which the fate of the Henry remains in question, Bernsen finally arrived on stage, marching like a zombie and wearing a backward hat and sunglasses. Although pressed several times during the panel, he never revealed whether his character survives the shooting.
Omundson offered the audience some behind-the-scenes photos, about half of which portrayed Hill sleeping — sometimes on the ground, sometimes on a chair or sofa, sometimes on a bus, and usually in his clothing but at least once in his pajamas.
Asked about his turn as director in the previous season, Roday said he helmed an episode in which the phrase “shafts of light” became rather contentious shorthand for a series of disastrous events that happened behind the scenes. Roday explained that the phrase refers to, “the 49- to 57-minute drive I subjected everyone to during our first episode so that we could shoot in a forest that, when we scouted it, looked enchanted. It was beautiful because of the shafts of shafts of light coming in through the trees. I believe it’s where Twilight had shot a bunch of their stuff as well. And then when we got to the day of the shoot, it was torrential rain and overcast skies.
“And mud, lots of mud,” Hill added with a grim expression.
“And none of those shafts,” Roday continued.
Omundson asked, “You wrote the episode, you made the decision to film out there. … Was it your way of saying, ‘Hey, everybody, welcome to Season 7, now suck it’?”
“That’s exactly it,” answered Roday with a laugh.
“That’s what we thought it was,” Omundson said.
Omundson asked Lawson what was her favorite part of acting with him. She replied that she would ask Omundson what he was going to do with a scene, and he would reply, “I’m gonna act the shit out of this, Maggie, what are you going to do?” to which she would reply, “I’m gonna act the shit out of this, Tim!”
Omundson asked Nelson, “If you had to make out with any actor on the show, who would it be?” “Maggie Lawson,” she answered. “I’d pay to watch that,” Roday joked.
Bernsen was asked what his least-favorite scene was, and answered, “I suppose getting shot. I don’t even know if I have a job!”
Omundson asked Roday if he would sing the “Boom from the Bottom” song, leading he and Hill to break into a song composed mostly of the words “Boom from the Bottom” with a beat provided by Hill. The two explained, after much laughter, that the song was inspired during shooting. The boom operator is the guy who holds the microphone on the set, and he usually holds it above the actors, but sometimes the director would say, “No, Johnny, boom from the bottom this time, boom from the bottom,” and Roday and Hill, thinking it sounded funny, made up a song about those times. “We have a lot of songs on the set. What’s that other one, after our last shot, we’d sing, ‘We are out of here, we are out of here, what?’” Roday sang, and then the two rolled back into another rendition of “Boom from the Bottom.”
Asked by an audience member whether they would do something more extensive with Star Wars, Franks replied, “We’d like to, but we really don’t have the money for it.”
The musical episode is another matter, however. “Yes, it’s partially written, and shooting in October,” Franks said. “This is a bit of a scoop, but it will be a two-hour musical movie.”
Asked what the most crazy fan encounter they’ve had, Hill answered, “This lady came up to the theater and asked me for this sweaty towel I had, and I said sure but it’s all sweaty, and she took it and then took off down the street with the towel screaming, ‘Ahhhhh!’”
He was asked whether he had any opportunities to go into stealth mode. “I’m always going into stealth mode, you know what I mean?” Hill said. “Just flip a little switch and there it goes. … So if I just show up behind you later on, then you realize stealth mode just happened.”
Asked by Omundson what Henry’s weapon of choice would be, Bernsen answered, “The deep, dark part of Henry, you know Henry is actually a peaceful guy. People don’t know this, but I his weapon of choice might be, like, a pie.”
Asked whether the killer Yang will be back in Season 7, Roday said, “He could be, maybe not. I’m assuming we’re not going to say no, because he’s still alive.”
Asked if they had ever geeked out over another celebrity and made fools of themselves, Hill answered, “Yes, over Lionel Richie. Richie came to a show I was doing, and I went, ‘Mr. Richie, Mr. Richie, can you sing for me?’ And he did, and I geeked out! I am a big fan of Lionel Richie.”
Kulchak and Lawson answered that they geeked out over William Shatner being on the set. “You should listen to the DVD commentary that Kelly and I just did about William Shatner,” Lawson added.
Nelson said, “Well Tim Curry is up there. I was just like, yeah. … I just wanted him to speak British/”
Bernsen answered, “Jeffrey Tambor, who will appear this year.”
Lawson added, “He plays my step-dad.”
“Malcolm McDowell was huge,” Franks said. “And also when John Rhys-Davies came on the show. But I think that the biggest one was when I met Tim Omundson.”
Asked if anyone had a good Curt Smith story, Roday answered, “This is a ‘how cool Curt Smith is story.’’ He pulled out his guitar, and we got to watch our crew just totally geek out and played guitar with Curt Smith and sing along.”
Hill’s mother called him on his cell phone, which he put on speaker so everyone could hear.
Asked why there are pineapples in every episode, Roday answered, “Because they are delicious.” Franks followed with, “Because I spent eight years working at the Tiki Room at Disneyland.”
Asked if Shawn and Gus switched bodies for a day, what they would do, Roday answered, “I’d probably try to dunk.” Hill laughed at that and replied, “You would fail, terribly. I’d get some Axe [gel], and style my hair … and then I would join Twitter.”
Omundson then showed a slide and explained that the audience was the first to hear a book called Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified will be released Feb. 19.
Omundson asked if the audience would make a short video to greet his cousin returning from Afghanistan, welcoming back Bulldog brigade. The audience cheered and welcomed him back enthusiastically.
Omundson concluded by having the show’s writers and executives stand up from the audience to receive applause and thanks, and finally showed a video called “100 Episodes in 200 Seconds,” complete with the song “Final Countdown” and music from Inception.