'Psych': James Roday on directing Dule Hill's screams for last time
Is it a coincidence that March 19’s penultimate episode of USA’s Psych — the last one star James Roday will ever direct — features his co-star Dulé Hill (Gus) running and screaming for most it? “No it is not,” Roday says. “It’s been one of the great joys of my experience on Psych, and I know our fans are equally as fond of watching Gus being in peril and trying to scream his way out of it.”
In the episode, “A Nightmare on State Street,” Gus visits a dream therapist (guest star Bruce Campbell) to help determine the true fear behind his terrifying nightmares. “In truth, he has to do so much screaming in this episode that we did actually talk about trying to find some nuance and having levels so that there was tiers to the screams. That’s a real discussion that we had,” Roday says. “And I can tell you that he honestly feels like I ruined screaming for him for the rest of his career because he blew out every scream that he had on this show. He feels like he needs to take a break for a long while before he does something where he screams again, otherwise people are just gonna identify him with this character.”
The episode is also loaded with guest stars, which Roday says is due in part to the fact that it was actually the last episode they shot (because they knew it would be big, silly, and bloody), and people would be less likely to say no to him. “It was basically me shoving in as many of them that I’ve always wanted to have on the show as possible. So it’s a bit of a potpourri of Roday favorites that we got in right under the buzzer: Dean Cameron from Summer School; Billy Zabka from The Karate Kid; my dear friends Curt Smith and Sutton Foster; Bruce Campbell, a horror icon I’ve worshiped since I was a child; the return of Phylicia Rashad,” he says. “WWE Superstars the Bella Twins — that was more for Dulé.”
Roday also figured out a way to get the show’s writing staff and most of its producers to Canada to appear on-camera during the last night of shooting. That opportunity was also specific to this episode. Read: Zombies! “For the super hard-core Psych-Os, it’s a who’s who of walking dead,” he says. “They’ll recognize a lot of them.”
Psych airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on USA. The series finale is March 26.