Psych celebrates its landmark 100th episode on March 27 with “100 Clues” and original Clue actors Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull.
Back in mid-2012, The Deadbolt was invited to the Vancouver production of Psych with a few other outlets to check out the filming of “100 Clues”, the 100th episode of the popular USA Network series inspired by the 1985 movie Clue.
Although the 100th episode of Psych was a huge milestone for Psych, it was also a big deal for original Clue actors Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull who reunited in Vancouver for the first time since filming Clue almost thirty years ago. As fans of Clue know, Christopher Lloyd played Professor Plum, Lesley Ann Warren Miss Scarlet, and Martin Mull played Colonel Mustard.
For “100 Clues”, original Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris was enlisted to play The Butler while Tears for Fears singer Curt Smith was brought on for a guest spot in the Clue inspired episode.
“100 Clues” puts a modern “whodunit” spin on the 1985 movie Clue as Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Gus Guster (Dulé Hill) get invited to a mysterious party at a historic Santa Barbara mansion by Billy Lipps, a rock icon whom Shawn and the Santa Barbara Police Department had sent to prison five years earlier for murder. In true Clue fashion, when a new and deadly crime is committed, five potential suspects emerge: the Butler, the Groupie, the Manager, the Author and the Host.
For the first time ever, similar to the different endinfs of the 1985 Clue movie, Psych fans have the power to determine the ending of the 100th episode via a live interactive, socially charged crowd-sourced event. Fans can cast their votes on psych.usanetwork.com and Twitter using a custom hashtags for each possible culprit: #PsychButlerDDit, #PsychGroupieDDit, #PsychManagerDDit, #PsychAuthorDDit and #PsychHostDDit.
While on the Psych set of “100 Clues”, Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull sat down with The Deadbolt and other reporters to talk about filming the original Clue, what it was like to reunite nearly three decades later, and what fans can expect from the 100th episode of Psych.
Q: What does it feel like to be together after so long? Was it a weird experience for you guys?
MARTIN MULL: To be the ones that are still living?
LESLEY ANN WARREN: Martin and I did a movie after Clue, so we …
WARREN: We played husband and wife in another movie.
WARREN: So, it’s fantastic to see him again. But it’s so great to see Christopher. It’s just amazing. Really.
CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Hadn’t seen Leslie since we wrapped Clue, yeah.
WARREN: A long time ago.
MULL: And she’s changed not a wit.
MULL: It’s funny. some of the energy feels very akin to what it was like on Clue, a lot of the mob scenes, running here, running there, running here, running there, etc. I think they’ve captured the essence of whatever it was we did. They kind of got that. It’s been nice.
Q: Had you guys known each other before Clue?
Q: You hadn’t worked together before?
WARREN: No. Not at all.
Q: Were you fans of Psych? Had you see it before?
WARREN: I had not.
MULL: No, I hadn’t.
Q: It’s a completely new experience then?
WARREN: What about you?
LLOYD: No, I had no idea.
WARREN: Completely new experience.
MULL: In my defense, I rarely watch anything that doesn’t involve a ball.
WARREN: And a bat.
MULL: Base, foot or basket. So, it’s not that I would go, “Oh, I don’t watch it.” I don’t watch television.
Q: What kind of honor is it for you to have such an iconic movie being portrayed in a show like Psych?
WARREN: Oh, it’s fabulous. I mean, it’s interesting. Clue has taken on its own life like Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’ll go into a restaurant and some 20-year old server will come up to me and recite all these lines. It’s really true.
I know that they do it throughout the country in different places. But there’s a movie theater in L.A. that has a Clue night. Everybody dresses up and they do all the lines and sing. They know the whole [movie]. It’s fabulous that we’re here doing this.
MULL: But it’s funny, it didn’t happen right out of the box though.
MULL: I mean, it was not what you go, “Oh, it was a hit movie at the time.” No, it has to take 40 years and be a cult [classic].
WARREN: It’s true.
MULL: So, you don’t get residuals from that little theater down the street, do you?
WARREN: [laughs] No.
Q: What was your impression coming onto this set?
WARREN: Well, I just finished a five year run on In Plain Sight, another USA show, and I was actually struck by how it’s such a different set. The two leads, James and Dulé, are so darling and sweet and generous and lovely. And Maggie, all of them are so open and collaborative. Not that our set wasn’t, but you were bitter.
WARREN: No, but it was a drama and it was very intense and it had a whole different energy. So, it’s just really creative and fun.
MULL: Yeah, I’m impressed by how silly they are. They seem like they have no worry ever to say, is this too big or is this too far? These are not questions that enter their minds. They’re willing and they just go for it. It’s great.
Q: Leslie, what is it like to say goodbye to Jinx?
WARREN: Very sad. Very sad. The last episode changed a lot from when I originally got this script at home. But I was really sad. Mary [McCormack] and I talked about it. Playing somebody’s mother for five seasons, if you get along with the actress, which we did, it was a very powerful connection and experience. So to let that go was wrenching in some ways.
Q: How did you guys get back involved with this? What was your first reaction when you heard they were going to be doing a Clue homage for Psych?
WARREN: Well, honestly, I just got a call from my agents telling me that this was going on and did I want to participate. And then I found out that Martin and Christopher were involved and I’m like, yeah, this would be so much fun. This would be great. Definitely. It was that simple really.
MULL: Yeah, my agent just called and said, “Remember when you worked back in 1978?” He said, “I think I have another opportunity for you.” I couldn’t believe it. So I called the gardening service I’ve been working for and told them to sell the mower.
It was, as Leslie said, it was the idea of knowing I was going to be with these two. You don’t say no. In fact, I’m sure Michael McKean would be here if he had both legs operative right now. He got hit by a car.
WARREN: He got hit by a car. Teah.
MULL: So, we wish him well.
LLOYD: I had no idea. Barely knew that it was a takeoff on Clue.
LLOYD: When I got here, I’m looking at a call sheet and discovered that you both were cast members. I was like blown away.
WARREN: Oh, you didn’t know?
LLOYD: I just couldn’t believe it.
MULL: You know, it helps to read the script. That’s why we’re on the plane.
Q: Can you each share some favorite moments from working on Clue?
WARREN: It was insane on set. I mean, I really feel like we were out of control. All of these brilliantly, hysterically funny comedic actors thrown together and doing their thing and this poor director could not corral us to save his life. We were cracking up at each other’s stuff.
WARREN: Constantly. I mean, constantly. I think one of my favorite moments, I told you this the other day.
WARREN: We had a scene together when we were trying to get through a door and we milked it until it was, you know, ridiculous.
MULL: Just forever.
WARREN: It just made me laugh so much that …
MULL: You have to remember that we had Michael McKean, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, AND Tim Curry all added to that mix. And we were all there, every day in every scene.
MULL: So, when you have that many people who are certifiable in one room, it just [insane]. And she’s right, poor Jonathan [Lynn] was just kind of rather, not prim but he was kind of a by the letter-of-the-book director.
WARREN: English director. Yeah.
MULL: He wanted this is how it’s written, this is how we’ll do it. And then we would proceed to just go miles …
WARREN: Go crazy.
MARTIN: … in another way, or something like that.
WARREN: He also had us, do you remember that he – I don’t know, I’m sure you were there – but he had us all come and watch His Girl Friday.
MULL: Oh, yes.
WARREN: With Rosalind Russell.
WARREN: He wanted us to speak in that clipped sort of pace.
WARREN: And that was the last thing we did that we actually paid attention to, any direction he gave us. It was balls to the wall after that.
MULL: Yeah, it’s unfortunate it wasn’t one of those situations where there’s also a crew doing the “making of” because that would be something I would probably go out and see again tonight.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what your character is in this episode of Psych?
WARREN: Well, it’s nothing like my character in Clue. She’s kind of nervous and shy and was the number one groupie in her day. She still feels a lot of pride about that. She’s a single mom and I don’t want to give away too much.
My character in Clue is much more sort of sexy, angry. I had this whole other energy. So, it’s interesting to be doing this Clue take-off and having a very diametrically opposed character to play in it. I have to wrap my head around it every time.
MULL: And I’m basically a drunken old fart, so it’s kind of a reach. But I was Billy Lipps’ road manager and I am no stranger to the bottle. Virtually everything I say as written is undecipherable, or indecipherable. I’m not sure which it is. But he just mumbles his way through the whole thing, drunk. And the people that do hair on the show are actually much better than this.They did this on purpose. Gotta give ‘em credit.
LLOYD: I pass.
WARREN: Ah, you pass?
LLOYD: No, no. The defining thing for my character is also different from what it was in the movie is that he graduated from Harvard. I feel, as it’s gone along, he’s a very re-repressed person and has been barely able to maintain his self-control in certain moments and kind of like that.
Q: We watched Clue last night and we laughed a lot.
WARREN: That’s a good thing.
MULL: Oh, you watched which last night?
WARREN: Our movie.
Q: The original.
MULL: Oh, the original. I thought you meant the dailies from here.
Q: No, the original movie and we had a lot of fun watching it.
MULL: Oh, good.
WARREN: Yeah, it’s so much fun to watch.
MULL: Do we get anything for that?
Q: How does filming this compare to filming the original?
WARREN: I think because we were there for three and a half months in this one set that was built on the Paramount lot, it was, as Martin said, we were in all of the scenes together. So, it took on its own sort of life. And this is, obviously it’s a truncated schedule to say the least in comparison. We’re doing a week’s worth of work that we shot in three and a half months. So there’s the pressure of time constraints and the reality of that.
WARREN: And trying to create as much as you can in that moment with the reality of serving a television series, which is ultimately different. It’s a very different energy, I would say.
MULL: Yeah. There’s something that happens to just your brain when you are, like she said, that all of us were in one set for 13 weeks. It’s probably the same kind of mentality that happens when people are trapped in an elevator, for eight hours and something happens to your sense of logic and your ability to communicate. So it just blew out down on Clue. If we stayed here long enough, we could get that to happen here I’m sure.
WARREN: It’s like being in therapy, in a marathon therapy session.
WARREN: And everybody gets very real, all the guards are down. People are so different.
Q: Because you’re doing the scene so many times, do you get kind of looped into the scene?
WARREN: Well, yes. I mean, you have a lot of time to rehearse. There are many, many more takes, generally speaking, on a film.
WARREN: You know, in television things can happen in a moment when you’re doing the work this way. On the other hand, you can also develop a character much more deeply and the relationships much more specifically, which brings another whole color to what you’re doing.
MULL: Something else that’s kind of interesting about the Clue movie, at least to me is that we never knew we could shoot – we pretty much shot in sequence because we’re all in one outfit and we’re on one stage. So there’s no reason to do day five before day one. You could do one, two, three, four. We never knew, during the course of the shooting, who the killer was.
MULL: We didn’t know if we were guilty or not.
MULL: And then we didn’t know at all until we were done with the body of the show. We didn’t know there were going to be four endings.
Q: Four endings?
MULL: There were four different endings shot. Depending on which theater you went to, that was the ending you saw. If you went to the Bijou last night and said, “Oh, I love it. I love it when Miss Scarlet kills the guy.” You’d go, “No, it wasn’t. It was Mr. Green,” or whatever, because the other theater had a different one. But we didn’t know any of this stuff.
Q: Do we know who the murderer is this time around?
MULL: I don’t even know my lines.
WARREN: I don’t think we should give it away.
MULL: I don’t think so either.
WARREN: So we won’t say. Be surprised.
MULL: It will be equally enjoyable.
Q: Have any of you had to yet portray the dead body on the show?
WARREN: Are we allowed to say?
MULL: Gee, I don’t know. You might want to talk to someone who’s …
WARREN: In charge.
MULL: Higher up the ladder.
Q: Do any of the three of you at some point end up as a dead body?
MULL: Well, I didn’t feel real good when I got up this morning, but I managed to make it into the shower.
WARREN: Oh, God.
Q: How do you find TV comedy now as compared to when you guys were first starting out?
LLOYD: I’m not sure. I get asked questions like, how much TV has changed? And I don’t feel it particularly has because I get a call, I go to the job. The director says action and it pretty much seems the same.
I guess the kind of comedy is a little different from ’70 and ‘80’s, but I don’t feel I’ve changed the way that it affects me particularly. I don’t know.
MULL: I’m thinking like, for instance, I just did several appearances for the Charlie Sheen show, working on that.
WARREN: Two and a Half Men?
MULL: Two and a Half Men. The-the main difference is what they’re talking about and what they are getting away with is different. But as far as a performer, it’s still the same thing. You get your script, you learn your script, there’s a tape mark on the floor, you hit it.
You get two takes. You go out to the craft services, eat cheese puffs and have coffee and come back and do the next part and then you go home on Friday night. It’s not that different.
It’s just that some things are more permissible, I guess. But like with stand-up comedy, what’s permissible is ridiculous. I mean, Lenny Bruce would be a choirboy compared to a lot of things that are happening now. So, that part is different.
The “100 Clues” episode of Psych airs on Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on USA Network.