Psych Interview: Creator Steve Franks, James Roday and Dule Hill Tease The Series’ Musical Spectacular

Psych Season 7 Episode 15/16 Psych: The Musical (17)

For seven seasons Psych has turned making very special episodes into an art form. Creator Steve Franks and his team of writers have produced an intricate Twin Peaks homage, a send up to the classic Clue film and much, much more. Tonight (Sunday, December 15th), Psych will reach a new level of awesome with a feature length, two-hour musical spectacular featuring fourteen original songs all written by Franks.

Recently, we had a chance to chat with Franks and stars James Roday and Dule Hill during a conference call where they previewed the obstacles they faced while filming, their favorite numbers and why Psych: The Musical means so much to them. In honor of Shawn and Gus, grab a snack then settle in for some juicy teasers below.

On How The Musical Came Into Being

Franks knew that if he didn’t make the announcement in a big way, he would never follow through with his vision, thus the news about the musical was announced live at San Diego Comic Con 2012 in front of not only the fans, but USA’s head executives. With fan support guaranteed from that moment on, Franks and company knew they had to deliver. They kept fan interest high by drumming up their own support from Psych-O’s (an affectionate term for Psych fans) via social media.

As for Franks’ inspiration: “I just wanted to see Dule and James sing while the cameras were rolling,” he said of his two talented stars, both of whom have showcased their musical talents in small doses during the Psych-out tags.

The Real Challenge…

Having an idea is all well and good, but bringing a full-length musical extravaganza to life on a basic cable budget and with no extra filming time was the real task. That’s right, the cast and crew had to learn to sing and dance their way through fourteen original numbers while also bringing to life a super-sized episode filled with location shots, a chase scene through the woods and fight scene that involved a hanging machine. More importantly, as Hill reminded us, an extra level of difficulty came about because they “weren’t going to Glee it up” and use pre-existing songs.

All total, the cast met with choreographer Paul Becker for roughly half of a Saturday, according to Roday, before filming began. Even more daunting? Together the episode makes up episodes 15 and 16 of season seven, meaning the cast and crew were already exhausted. “Everyone was running on adrenaline,” James revealed.

It was the cast and crew’s passion for Franks’ vision that helped them rally to produce the episode under the daunting time restraints. As Roday put it, “This was his (Franks’) baby, his crown jewel, his legacy.” The cast and crew knew that if they were going down, they were going down together.

Singing surprises?

It seems that Kurt Fuller, who plays the creepy/hilarious coroner Woody, was originally not going to sing. Instead, the idea was to use an obvious dubbing during his number as a gag. However, at the last minute Fuller decided to give it a shot and delivered a spectacular performance.

Sadly, due to a misunderstanding, regular cast member Corbin Bernsen doesn’t sing at all. Bernsen told Franks he wanted to talk sing (think Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady), but Franks thought he meant that he didn’t want to sing. Franks joked that he would have to write another musical to right his wrong.

An Injury Free-Zone

Despite the time constraints and the short practice time, the entire cast emerged unscathed…minus one mud slide for Roday. On the second day of shooting, the cast filmed on location in a park that was picturesque when Franks scouted the location, but which had turned into a muddy mess after a torrential downpour. James Roday and Timothy Omundson powered through to perform their tango despite the fact that their feet were sinking roughly an inch into the mud.

At one point, Roday has to leap over a bench which resulted in him finding himself in a mini-mudslide situation. Hill said Roday did the “full Gene Kelly” and commended his co-star and friend for “dancing hard, falling hard, and getting up.”

Their Favorite Number…

Sadly, Franks and Roday’s favorite number would involve a massive spoiler alert. We can tease that it involves two guest stars and is both moving and a perfect encapsulation of the series. “When I think back to the show in 50 years, this is the night I’m going to think back to,” Franks asserted. Roday concurred, saying, “It’s Psych ridiculous with this undercurrent of, why am I touched with this?”

Hill had a different favorite though, the complex opening number, “Under Santa Barbara Skies.” He told us that the huge number (the first number filmed) perfectly sums up everything that makes Psych, Psych. Whether you have ever seen the show before or not, in that one number “you get the whole picture of what the show is,” he promised.

Psych Season 7 Episode 15/16 Psych: The Musical (9)

Watch Psych: The Musical tonight, Sunday, December 15th at 9PM ET/PT on USA.

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