Psych actor Dule Hill sat down on the Vancouver set to talk about reaching the landmark 100th episode and the highly anticipated “100 Clues”.
While on the Vancouver set of Psych for the 100th episode back in mid-2012, The Deadbolt and a small group of press got a first hand look at the filming of “100 Clues”. It was a key “whodunit” scene inside an old mansion with Psych stars James Roday and Dule Hill in character as Shawn and Gus alongside original Clue actors Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull, who returned to the roles of Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, and Colonel Mustard respectively.
As we learned later in the day, some of the original Clue stars hadn’t seen each other since shooting the movie in 1984.
In the Clue themed “100 Clues” airing Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on USA Network, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) attend a secret party at a historical Santa Barbara mansion hosted by an aging rockstar named Billy Lipps (guest star Steve Valentine), a man the Santa Barbara Police Department arrested years ago for a murder he doesn’t remember committing.
Although it was mighty cool to watch James Roday and Dule Hill shoot several different takes with Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull, it was a huge bonus to see Tears for Fears singer Curt Smith and original Saturday Night Live cast member, Garret Morris, among the guest cast. In “100 Clues”, Morris replaces original Clue actor Tim Curry in the role of Wadsworth The Butler.
In between takes on the set of “100 Clues”, Psych actor Dule Hill sat down for a candid chat about reaching the 100 episodes, working with the stars of Clue, Psych as compared to his time on The West Wing, and his feelings on how Gus Guster has changed since the first season.
Q: How familiar with Clue were you before this episode?
DULE HILL: I was a fan of the actors, I wasn’t really familiar so much with the movie. I knew about the movie, but I’d never seen the movie. I just watched the movie for the first time the other day. But I’ve known who all the actors are and have been fans of their work for years. And I’m kind of making my way through.
Mr. Boddy, I haven’t worked with him yet, and haven’t worked with the housekeeper. But everyone else in the movie I have worked with, all of the main characters. I even worked with Madeline Kahn back on Cosby years ago, so I’m just working my way through the Clue cast.
Q: What does it mean to get to 100 on this show?
HILL: Well, it goes beyond what I even expected for the show. I didn’t realize that the show would go this long. I’m thrilled that the fans have been attached to it, and really, truly just in awe of the whole journey.
Before The West Wing, I’d never done a TV series. I tested for pilots and never booked one. Over the last 15 years now, it’s just been one long, wonderful ride. So to get to 100 and something on West Wing, and now to hit that milestone again with the second show, I’m really speechless. I don’t have anything to say about it besides I’m just thankful. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I’m glad to have been blessed to have this experience.
I thought that you couldn’t really top The West Wing experience, with that cast and all of those experiences. But this has been just as fulfilling in a whole different way. Working with this cast, I love them just as much as West Wingers.
We’ve had a chance to work with just as talented and phenomenal guest actors as we did on The West Wing. I just did not expect this show to have that kind of success. I thought it’d be fun and it would be a great time, and something different to do. But I didn’t really realize that the show would have this kind of life and have this kind of a fan base. But it’s thrilling. I love it. It’s great.
Q: Will we get any more music videos?
HILL: That’s a good question. Yeah, they’re a lot of fun to do, and I hope we get to do at least one more. Obviously it’s just a matter of finding the right song. But the marketing team at USA is great and at some point they’ll come up with something. It’s a lot of fun to do. I mean, that’s really where you get a chance to live out your childhood fantasy of being a rock and roll star.
Q: Can you talk about the growth in Gus for the last six seasons.
HILL: Well, going from the beginning of the show to now, Gus definitely stands up for himself more. He stands up for himself and I think he’s owned more of who he is. I think at first he may have been a little more not so comfortable in his skin, but now he’s very fine with who he is. He appreciates that he has all this random trivia and likes to eat food and has a super sniffer.
I guess going in to this season, especially, would be the relationship. I think early on, Gus wasn’t really thinking at all about a relationship, really. He was just thrilled to be moonlighting as a psychic detective. But now he’s looking for something beyond just hanging out with Shawn all the time. So I guess that would be the arc of it.
You know, it’s funny. For myself, I don’t really think about the long arc of characters like that. I just do the work. I take it as it comes, and the character evolves on its own. I don’t really put it in my brain so much as I more just live the character as he grows.
It’s like asking myself, how have you grown over the last couple years? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve just lived. I don’t really sit back and think about how I’ve grown over the last seven years as me, Dule. It’s the same way I approach my characters. I just let them have their life.
Q: How will Gus’s new relationship affect his relationship with Shawn?
HILL: Well, I think they’ll always have the bromance. I mean, no matter what happens there will always be the core. Even with Shawn and Juliet. Shawn and Gus are still extremely tight, and I don’t think anything will ever get in between. There may be challenges at different points, but really, when it comes down to it, there’ll never be anything that gets in between Shawn and Gus. Simple as that.
Q: They’ve said we get a musical episode this season. Is there going to be a lot of dancing?
HILL: That’s a good question. And I think Steve Franks is coming here later today, so that might be a question to ask him. I wouldn’t mind it, it’d be fun. I don’t know, maybe a little something. I don’t know if there will be a full routine. It’s all in the mind of Steve Franks.
Q: Maybe it’ll be a chorus line?
HILL: Yeah, just doing kicks. You know, it’s possible! It’s very possible. I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
Q: You’re the common element between two very long running and popular shows.
HILL: Yes, I am.
Q: Can you bottle that element?
HILL: I would just say it’s the blessing of God. I give God thanks for his wonderful blessings. I can’t say that it has anything to do with me. I’ve just been the one who’s been given the gift of being placed in these two phenomenal situations. And if you surround yourself with talented people, people will think you’re talented. It’s very simple. Very simple. [laughs]
Q: Have you ever become complacent on Psych?
HILL: No, I get excited every episode. Every episode. I think we have Jeffrey Tambor coming up next. These are people who I’ve watched, I’ve been fans of their work for years. To be able to share the screen with all these actors, it’s a dream. You can never get complacent.
Working with Christopher Lloyd, how can you just be like, “oh, whatever, Garret Morris?” He’s the original “not ready for prime time.” Come on! As an actor, you can never get enough of it, never. Even working with the cast that I work with, I think that everyone brings so much to the table, and they challenge me every episode to dig deeper and try to find other comedy moments.
I don’t really feel like comedy is my base, I just feel like I’m more attracted to dramatic work. To work with these guys and gals every day, it’s a thrill. I don’t think I ever take it for granted to come to work because it’s so hard in this business to get a job. Then to have a job that runs long and to be successful, and then to be able to share the screen with Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull, it’s like, you have to be able to appreciate the moments.
There’s some quote by Albert Einstein, it says you either look at life as if everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle, something like that. I have it in my bathroom at home. So, just so you know, whenever I use the bathroom, that’s what I’m seeing. But it’s so true, you have to take moments and really appreciate every moment that you’re given because you never know when it’s going to be all done anyway. So no, I don’t think I get complacent at all.
Q: So it feels fresh, even after 100?
HILL: Oh, yeah. Oh, I mean, each episode you have somebody new coming in. Every episode there’s some other phenomenal actor coming to play around. It’s also humbling because you feel like, “Wow, they think we’re cool enough to come all the way up here to Vancouver and hang out for seven days.” That’s pretty cool. I love it.
Q: Do you have a guest star on your wish list?
HILL: I would still say for myself, it would still be Martin Sheen. I would love to still get Martin on the show.
Q: How great would it be to have a West Wing homage?
HILL: It would be great. I would love to do it. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible, but we’ll see. Those two worlds colliding would be just an actor love-fest. No, really, it’s like a career love-fest for me.
Q: I know the fans would love it.
HILL: It would be a lot of fun. Martin’s a busy man. If we can get Martin, we can at least fill in everybody else, but we’ll see. Martin would still be my top choice just because I loved working with him.
I remember when I first did West Wing, when I first came on the set, he taught me this handshake that Laurence Fishburne taught him when they did Apocalypse Now. We still do the handshake to this day. But I was nervous coming in and working with Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, and all these people. He just made me feel so at ease.
I still vividly remember that moment coming on to The West Wing set, before we even got to air, as it’s all this time later. To have Martin come around on this show would be just a very moving thing for me.
Q: What’s your most memorable moment on Psych?
HILL: That’s a hard one to say, the most memorable. I honestly will say the most memorable moment will probably be when Roday came to my house before my screen test. I thought that was very cool, because he already had the job. I thought that was very cool for the lead actor to come to my house to work on the scene so that we’d be ready to go when I walked in the room.
So I think that kind of set our dynamic up. I was like, “Okay, yeah, you’re a real cool dude.” I mean, the first Psych-Out for the pilot, the Man in the Mirror, that was really just me and Roday off-camera having fun, just singing songs and coming up with this whole thing. And then we have this song that we made up back then called “Stuck on You.” Stuck on you, stuck on you. It was this whole thing we were doing during the pilot. But it’s 100 episodes, there are so many. It’s been a great ride, I’m very thankful.
The “100 Clues” episode of Psych airs on Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on USA Network.