John Cena, James Roday and Dule Hill Ushers in All-New Episodes of Psych Starting This Wednesday!
Legendary WWE Superstar John Cena is guest starring on an all-new episode of Psych this Wednesday night, January 27th, at 10/9 pm central. Only on the USA Network. Cena is set to play Juliet O'Hare's (Maggie Lawson) brother Ewen O'Hare, a mercenary who may have insight into a military suicide case that Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton "Gus" Guster (Dule Hill) are investigating as a murder. Entitled S04E10: You Can't Handle this Episode, this all-new show kicks off Psych's mid-season return. As part of a cross promotion with WWE Monday Night Raw, which recently saw Cena going head to head against current WWE champion Sheamus, Hill flew into Columbus, Ohio to be a guest commentator on the live program last Monday night.
As many Psych fans now know, James Roday was also supposed to co-host Raw with Hill. But prior to the show, James had to have his appendix removed. Which sent Dule flying solo for his guest stint on the popular USA wrestling series. We were also flown into Columbus by the network to chat with Hill about his appearance on Raw, which was something both he and Roday had been looking forward to for a very long time. After taking some steamy pics with a couple of WWE Divas, and then sending them to Roday to rub it in a little bit, Hill sat with us to discuss working with Cena, Wednesday night's new episode, and what else Psych has in store throughout the rest of this season.
Right off the bat, we wanted to know more about Hill's familiarity with the world of WWE wrestling, especially since he was mere hours away from sitting in as a commentator on the popular USA series. It turns out that Roday is the real wrestling buff, "I wouldn't say that I am into it as much as James. If I compared myself to Roday, then yes, I am a closet-wrestling fan. I'm more of an old school wrestling fan. I used to like Tony Atlas. Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka. Andre the Giant. The Iron Sheik. I am getting more into it now. Ever since Cena came onto the show. I am getting more into the new cats. I can't stand John Henry. I can't stand Sheamus. I can't stand Jack Swaggert. And I am afraid of Jack Horten." Did Dule feel confident enough to be hosting the show? "That will be interesting to see. I can talk a good game. I don't know how well versed I am in this particular world. I know what has happened in the last couple of weeks on Raw. But I don't know much about the old history. I know about Bret Hart. You can't get too obscure. Some stuff will come up, and I have no idea what they are talking about. I am really looking forward to announcing. It should be interesting. Especially with all of those fans out there."
Hill comes from a theater background, which is a good jumping off point for the live nature of Raw. He genuinely seemed to be looking forward to being a guest commentator, "It should be pretty cool. I actually performed at the NBA All-Star weekend a few years back. I am used to the crowds. It should be fine. I like people. As long as no one is throwing soda at me." Turning the topic over to his own show, we all wanted to know what it was like working with Superstar John Cena on Psych. Did Hill have any preconceived notions about wrestlers and their acting abilities? "Look, I knew who Cena was before he came in. I knew how popular some of these wrestlers were. So it was just exciting for me. The WWE is like a fantasy world for children and adults. Whether you are a current fan, or if you watched it in the past. You want to man up and do whatever it is they can do." Did that mean manning up on set in Cena's presence? "No. We were just playing around. We were all having a good time. I acted like I was puffing out my chest. But it was all for jokes. I would never really puff my chest up around John Cena. (Laughs) That is just not going to happen. Unless I have more of an entourage standing behind me."
Hill had nothing but praise for Cena's on-screen presence, "John was actually very good at acting. I was surprised at how good he was. I knew he was going to be good, because he performs in front of a crowd every week. But I had not seen The Marine. That was a movie I learned about when I found out he was coming to the set. I didn't know anything about it, and everyone was talking about it non-stop. People would look at me and say, "What? You've never seen The Marine!?!" Now they have The Marine 2 coming out. Robert Patrick is in this new episode, and he was in The Marine. That's why it came up on set so much. Cena is really good in this episode. His comedy skills were on point. His improv skills were way better than mine. I wouldn't say he's better than Roday. But he was definitely better than me. He'd just keep going. You never knew where he was headed. You'd just say, 'Um, okay..." He was a lot of fun. I really do hope he comes back. Everyone up there loved him. We just had a blast."
Wanting to know more about the upcoming episodes of Psych, we had to ask if Dule was getting a romantic interest sometime in the near future, "That is a good question. In February, we are going to have a meeting with the writers. We will see what is coming up for next season. For these new winter episodes, I do have a romance with Sarah Shahi. She is doing a guest stint on an episode. You will get to see how Gus interacts with a love interest. It should be a good episode. It's about daredevils. We are doing all kinds of extreme stunts. You know, that's not what Gus does. He's just trying to hang with his lady. That will be the second episode of this new run. We also have Stacy Keibler on that show. We have WWE back-to-back."
What about all the pop culture references that James and Dule throw around? Does Hill understand the words that are often coming out of his own mouth? "No. Roday usually knows. Writer Steve Franks will come up with some of the most extreme, obscure references. Ninety percent of the time I have no idea what I am talking about. We have a line about Eve Plumb in this upcoming episode. I have no idea what that is. We'll do a scene. Everything will go great. I will say the line. Then afterward, I will have to ask about it. 'What does that mean?' I learn something new almost every single day."
With Psych becoming more and more popular every single week, does Hill ever have to contend with crazy fans? "As time goes on, more people are recognizing me. This show has a pretty wide demographic. There are seniors, there are children, there are teenagers. There are young adults and married couples. A lot of people tell me they watch it during family hour. Its one of the few shows families can watch together and still have a great laugh. They love it. Some people tell me they think Roday is a real idiot. He gets me into real trouble sometimes. They love the show, though. They have a blast watching it. Which is good." Hill came face to face with his fan base in San Diego last summer, "Comic Con was a blast. Going into that, we didn't know what to expect. Its Comic Con, and we are Psych. They had us in these large rooms. 'Are you sure we shouldn't be in a smaller room?' Once we got out there, we were taken back and amazed by the outpouring of support that was there. We are in Vancouver most of the year. We don't see that because we are guarded from it. You never know how much people are actually digging the show. We were like, 'Wow!'" At that time, the Psych team picked winners names to have them included in upcoming episodes of the show. Have the names been written into any scripts yet? "Yes. In an upcoming episode. The "Jaws" episode. We do use one of the names. We had a nice time at Comic Con. It was fun playing off the crowd. There were a lot of interesting questions that arose from that audience. I am really looking forward to doing that again this year."
Enough about Comic Con, we wanted to know more about this upcoming Jaws episode, "It does entail a shark. A man is killed in a shark attack. Of course we are called in. And we hit the high seas. I wish they had kept some of the outtakes. James got the worse seasickness in that episode. We were on the sea for a long time. I don't even know how long. It was for multiple days. In between takes, James was hurling over the side of the boat. I was behind him laughing. I kept telling the cameraman to roll. We had no idea that he was going to get sick. We'd shot on a boat before, and he was fine. He was a little worn out. It was at the end of the season, and we were on the sea. That took its toll on him. All you could do was get out of his way. I knew he wasn't dying, so the only other thing to do was have a good time. I wanted them to roll the camera for a psych-out."
A Jaws episode sounds pretty neat. Will there be any other themed episodes coming up before the end of season four? "Yes, we have a nod towards Hitchcock for our season finale. James Roday wrote and directed that episode. It is going to be really good. Audiences are really going to enjoy it. All of the episodes are kind of a blur right now. Especially when I hit the off-season. Hitchcock and Jaws are the two themed episodes coming up." Are there any themes Dule would like to incorporate into the show for himself? "Yes. Dance. Maybe we could do a riff on White Nights. I hope at some point I will be able to dance on the show."
For the most part, Psych is a comedy. But it does have its more dramatic elements. Is it ever hard to focus on that aspect of the show when so much fun is being had? "The writers do a good job of making those moments organic. The more dramatic elements do come out of the stuff that is going on. It is pretty easy to flow right into it. Actors enjoy doing dramatic stuff, even when a show is leaning to more comedic fare. It's always a lot of fun." Do James and Dule ever work their own lines into a scene? "All the time. We like putting things in that make us laugh. And I'd say it makes it into the show about 80 or 90 percent of the time. I can think of one coming up in this new batch of episodes. Ed Lover, from Yo! MTV Raps! Has a show on-line now. Its called "Come On, Son." He goes through a whole tangent of stuff that is on the news. I showed it to Roday the other day. Of course a beat came up in one of the episodes. It's the S04E14: Think Tank episode. He does it, and I call him out. 'Don't do Ed Lover back to me!' We thought it was hilarious, and we wanted to give Ed Lover a shout-out. You'll see that coming up soon. I think the writers know that we are going to add stuff in there. As they work with us more, they recognize the stuff we like to do. And they will top it the next week. It is a collaborative effort."
Does Hill's theatrical background ever help with the more improvisational aspects of the show? "Yes. I would say so. I didn't ever do a lot of improvisations. But my theater background does help me stay in the moment. Being a tap dancer also helps shape how you throw something out there, and then pull it back. Roday is the king of improv to me. He is hilarious. I was coming from a show where there was no improv. As the years go on, I get more and more used to improv. I am getting better at keeping up with Roday. And my theater background definitely helps with that. Most of the time, I know where he is going and can stay with him. But sometimes he goes way far off the page. I tell him, 'You really are an ass right now.'"
How does Hill compare working with USA as opposed to another network? "I have only ever worked with one other network. And it's the same big company. I think USA shows initiative. They allow their shows time to find themselves. They produce fewer series. So they can really stand behind the ones they do have. They find out and understand what sticks. They give you time to breath and define yourself. They also support you more than network television. That is the main thing. They give a show time to breath. They have that ability when they are producing less. They take the time to find quality. And they support you. They get the word out there. They hold campaigns to make sure people know about the show. If you just put a show on television, people don't always know its there. I feel that USA always has interesting twists on the stories they tell in each episode."
Does Dule know how long the series might go on? "As long as they keep coming up with good ideas, and the audience is happy, and USA is happy, we will keep on making them. We are having a blast doing it. As long as everyone involved creatively is happy, we will keep doing it. When we get a sense that it could be getting stale, then we'll say its time to go. We want to keep you laughing."
You can catch John Cena on an all-new episode of Psych this Wednesday, January 27th, at 10/9:00 pm central. Only on USA.