In Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, available to stream at Peacock TV, Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) is recovering from being ambushed and left for dead while on a case, causing Shawn (James Roday Rodriguez) and Gus (Dulé Hill) to show up and help him sort out the unexplainable things that start happening. Putting their new lives in San Francisco on hold to help their friend, they’re on their own as they follow leads around their old stomping grounds.
During this phone interview with Collider, co-stars James Roday Rodriguez and Dulé Hill, whose own friendship seems as strong as the one they play on TV, talked about why returning for a second Psych movie was so important to them, what it was like to get back on set with Tim Omundson (who suffered a stroke in May 2017 that kept him from having a very active role in the first film), the craziest moments to shoot, how much fun they have trying to crack each other up, their impeccable comedic timing, why they still enjoy playing these characters, after eight seasons and now two movies, and the chances of a third Psych movie.
JAMES RODAY RODRIGUEZ: We’re all here.
DULE HILL: Is your name Kristina with a K, or Cristina with a C.
Collider: It’s Christina with a CH. My parents went the very boring, traditional route with the most normal spelling.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: You can always go down to the social security office and add any letter that you want.
HILL: That’s true. You have the right to do that.
Noted. Well, I’ve been a fan of Psych since the beginning of the TV show, and it’s exciting that you not only got to do one movie, but that now there’s a second movie, as well.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: We’ve been very lucky, and I think a lot of it has to do with how handsome Dulé is. So, I always like to thank him publicly, whenever I can.
It’s the tap dancing.
HILL: See, it’s the tap dancing.
The first movie obviously felt incomplete without much Lassiter in it, so clearly you had to find a way to do another one that included him. How did it feel to actually get back on set and work with Tim Omundson?
HILL: When we were filming the first movie, you said it right, it just didn’t feel like Psych. We had fun, but there was a huge gaping hole that was missing, and that was Tim Omundson. From that moment, when we started filming the first movie, for the cast and the crew, our rallying cry was, “How wonderful is it gonna be, when we come back and do a second movie, and Tim shows up here in Vancouver and walks on set. That’s gonna be such a beautiful moment. We’re gonna keep holding on to the fact that he’s gonna recover, get his strength back, and we’re gonna be here, filming Psych 2.” From the beginning of the first Psych movie, that was the genesis of it. We were like, “We’ve gotta do another movie, where Tim shows up.” So, when we did get to the second movie and Tim did show up on set and knocked it out of the park, the joy was overflowing. All of our hearts full with love, with gladness, and with thankfulness, to see Tim knocking it out, the way he normally does, once again, on a Psych set.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: I echo all of that. It’s definitely the reason that we moved mountains to make this movie happen, in an impossibly small window. Everybody was off doing different stuff and everybody’s schedules were crazy. Dulé and Jazmyn were about to become parents to Levi, and Maggie [Lawson] was shooting a pilot. It was just crazy. But like you said, there was no way that we were gonna miss out on the opportunity to deliver Psych-os, a full helping of their Lassiter, which is such a testament to the work that Tim Omundson did, over the course of that series. He started off as the antagonist to the protagonist of the show, and became absolutely beloved, to the point that a Psych movie didn’t feel right, without him in it. So, we feel like the world has been balanced, and the Psych universe is back where it belongs, and we can’t wait for our fans to see Tim back up on the horse, playing that character.
I love that this is a fun mystery caper that weaves all of the characters together, and on top of that, you get Jimmi Simpson and Kadeem Hardison, and even a dog and some cats. What was the craziest day, for each of you?
HILL: For myself, there are two that come up. First for me was the scene that I had with Kadeem Hardison. It’s funny ‘cause I read it in the script and I knew what it was gonna be, but once we got there and started actually doing it, it got rolling and just evolved into other things. All I could think was, “There is no way this would’ve been happening, in Season 1.”
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: No way! You had to earn those stripes.
HILL: But it was a lovely thing to see the evolution of the character and the evolution of me, as a comedic actor even willing to go there. It was a lot of fun. It was a blast. Some of the stuff in that scene didn’t even make it to air. Some of the out-takes of what Roday was saying to Kadeem had me rolling on the floor. I wish we could do a Psych Out somewhere, where people could see all of the different takes that he gave, trying to get into Kadeem’s head. And then, my second thing would be the scene with Jimmi Simpson, which I’ll let Roday talk about.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: It was broken into two parts, but I would say that it was when we had him in front of the green screen, in the oversized baby bouncer, and we sang the song, we just all looked at each other and were like, “Wow, we’re doing this. There really are no longer boundaries because we’re doing this and no one is telling us that we can’t.” That was pretty crazy. We’ve written ourselves into a corner because we love that character so much, but we killed him in Season 4. Coming up with ways to continue to bring him back without repeating ourselves is getting more and more challenging.
HILL: For all aspiring actors and actresses out there, just because your character dies on a show, it doesn’t mean they’re dead.
You guys have a comedic timing together that is really just impeccable. What do you most enjoy about sharing that, and are there still moments where it’s just impossible not to break?
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: Oh, yeah, we make each other laugh, all the time.
HILL: That’s what makes it so fun, though. Most of the time, we’re trying to get each other to break. If we can think of something to do, to mess the other one up, then we’re gonna try to do it because it’s just so much fun. I just really appreciate the ease of working with Roday. From the pilot, and even when I was auditioning for the role, I realized that he was a comedic genius, and to be able to play with him, all these years, and learn and grow and evolve within myself, as a comedic actor, has been a joy. What I really appreciate the most is the ease of the timing. I don’t have to find the rhythm. I don’t have to search for the rhythm. It’s there. We have this musicality that goes on, between the both of us, that makes the scenes work, and I appreciate it.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: It’s so great having a partner. It’s like a dance, and there’s full trust. You don’t need a parachute. You’re gonna jump, and your partner is gonna be with you, and you’re either gonna fly or you’re gonna hit the ground, but you’re gonna do it together. That, for me, makes it feel like everything is in play and anything is possible. It’s the best. That’s the best feeling and the best way to do comedy, and I’m sure that I’ll never experience it like that again.
Do you guys ever get surprised that these characters and this show is still so fun, when you’ve been doing it for as long as you have?
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: I think that we’ve been smart about it. The last season was abbreviated, and then we took a couple of years off. Then, we came back to tell one story, and then we took more time off and came back to tell another story. I feel like every time we get together, we ourselves have had time to miss the characters and the world a little bit and to reflect. And we’re always so jazzed to be back together that we’ve managed to happen into a pretty good system, where we’re always really excited about doing the work again. If we can keep that going, then I see no reason why we can’t continue to find it and keep the balls in the air. That’s right, Dulé , I said balls.
HILL: And you said, “In the air.”
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: That’s right. Psych ended at the right time, and we all felt good about the decision that we made with the network, at the time, to stop. Making that decision was a huge part of why we’re still making these movies. The timing had to be right for us to walk away, so that there was still an appetite for the show and our fans still wanted us to come back. That was a pretty key element in all of it.
There are a lot of shows where, once you’re on them for awhile, you could get bored of playing the same character, and then the audience feels that. It doesn’t feel that way with Psych, and that’s something that’s rare and special, and makes it magical to still see.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I couldn’t have said it better, and Dulé certainly couldn’t have said it better.
HILL: What I appreciate, Cristina with a C and no H . . .
No, there is an H.
HILL: Oh, there is an H? That’s really normal. That’s almost too normal. Wow. Okay, I’ve gotta recalibrate everything now. So, Christina with an H, if you could take what you said and attribute those quotes to me, I’d appreciate that very much.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: ‘Cause Christina, this isn’t about you. This is about us. You’re supposed to make us look good.
HILL: It’s been a joy to play these characters, for all this time. Roday said it best, we did get out at the right time. We didn’t overstay our welcome, when we were on the air, but we also didn’t let too much time go by, before we revisited the characters. As long as we keep navigating that balance, we can keep doing it. As long as the fans enjoy it and want to see more of it, then we’ll try to deliver more. We just enjoy being around each other, and that helps with everything We really genuinely love each other, as a cast and crew. We all stayed in touch, over the years. We all try to see each other, whenever we can. We all try to get together, and there’s definitely a lovefest. I think the audience can feel the love that we have for them and that we have for each other.
Would you say then that there is a chance of a third Psych movie? Is there a point in time when you guys eventually have to say, “Okay, we’re not playing these characters anymore”?
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: I definitely think that there’s a better chance that we do a third movie than that we don’t. The reason I say that is because I think our fans are still very much with us. I know I speak for all of us when I say that tracking Tim on his journey back from how dark those days were to where he got to, in the second movie, I think we’re all really excited by the prospect of seeing him do it again and be even further along. That, for me, will continue to drive the desire to come back for a third. And then, so much of Psych is relegated on to two dudes who don’t wanna grow up and who continue to act like children. So, the question is, and it’s a fair one, is at what point is the line of diminishing returns? At what point do you go, “Oh, it used to be really funny when they did that bit, and now it’s sad?” When you cross that line, that’s it. That’s when it needs to be done. We haven’t figured that out yet, thank goodness, but I do think that there is probably a statute of limitations on that type of behavior. And if they grow too much and evolve into different people entirely, then you run the risk of losing the spirit of the show and what made it what it was. So, it’s a balance, to be sure. Luckily, Dulé doesn’t seem to be aging like a normal human, and with all of the digital technology that we have at our disposal these days, you can probably keep me looking young-ish for a little while longer. We’ll just have to feel it out.
HILL: The one thing I will add to it is that there’s not a lot of show or properties out there that really bring families together. With the TV show and the movies, Psych is something that generations can watch and all fulfilled, laugh, all get entertainment value out of, and have some levity in the lives. In the midst of all the crazy stuff that goes on in the world, and with all of the drama and pandemics and issues that are out there, as long as we can keep delivering a moment of levity for families, I think there’ll be more stories to tell. When we stop delivering the laughter, that will be time for us to pack it on up.
If nothing else, I need to know what happens with the cat café.
RODAY RODRIGUEZ: Exactly! That’s a loose end.
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home is available to stream at Peacock TV.