James Roday and John Cena Grapple with Psych
James Roday and John Cena talk about the new episode featuring the wrestler
The USA Network hit series Psych will make its return to the USA lineup on a brand new night, Wednesday, January 27 at 10 PM ET and stars James Roday and Dule Hill will have some heavyweight company. The new episode features a guest-star turn by WWE wrestler John Cena, and Roday and Hill will also be the special guest hosts of WWE Monday Night Raw on Monday, January 25 as well. Roday and Cena recently held a conference call to discuss the new episodes and here's what they had to say.
So, John, were you a fan of the show? Had you seen it prior to guest starring in it?
John Cena: Well just because of the relationship with the network I've seen bits and pieces, I've never been involved and dedicated for the seasons and everything, but really kind of saw that it was my sense of humor and definitely when I got on set I knew I would fit right in. The show's very well written and it's very, those guys certainly (unintelligible) themselves and with their personality I, I love how it's put together and I, I wasn't a die hard fan but have since become one. It's, I really do like what they're doing with the show and I'm happy that I can help kick off the new season, the new time slot but it was it was an educational experience but one that I certainly, I made some new friends and certainly had a newfound respect for what those guys do.
Now obviously we know that you have something of an acting resume that you've built, you've been in some movies but I don't know that James or Dule have a lot of experience with wrestling so what do you expect from them as guest hosts on Monday?
John Cena: I'll tell you what, Dule's energy is second to none and James, believe it or not, whether you're going to get him to admit this online on the phone is one of the biggest closet wrestling fans I have ever come across in my life. There are many intricate professional wrestling references in the kick off Psych episode. It's, it was a pleasure to see and those guys paid homage to the sport and to the industry fantastic, fantastically well with their clever way of writing material.
Your character kind of as a super agent kind of does it all you know, whether he's you know, being smart or you know, whether it's you know, man of action. We didn't get to see this side of him but I bet you he's catnip to the ladies too. How much, how much fun was it to play a character like that?
John Cena: It was really cool but at the same time to have, have a bit of a mercenary type feel. It wasn't the Johnny-do-good sort of baddest man on the planet style. This guy, the guy that I play is a, is a true mercenary, you know, he's very good at what he does but at the same time is certainly out to make money and knows he has to compromise some morality issues to get the job done sometimes, and I think that's what leads up to a very interesting ending.
Yeah, speaking of which it kind of left it open a little bit, might we see, might we see you come back?
John Cena: I would certainly love to make another appearance. I'm so glad that they didn't make an ending to my character and I would certainly love to come back if, let's hope we get some good ratings for the premier episode and if we do then hopefully I'll be seen again.
Is it hard to keep a straight face on the set of that show?
John Cena: No. They take everything in stride, those guys you know, like I said they got a great sense of humor, they're willing to laugh at themselves and wink at the camera and that's, that's really what I like to do. So we held it together just about until they said cut and then yeah, we had a bunch of laughs, but those guys have a wonderful sense of humor.
Can you let me know if you and the guys are going to be getting into the ring together when they guest host on WWE?
John Cena: I hope so. I, especially after learning about how, how much of a fan that James is, the duties of our host are kind of up to the host. They can, they can be as physical or as administrative as they'd like to be. I know that I'm going to be there on Monday and I'm most certainly going to be in the ring for action, so whether they want to get active or not is certainly up to them. I know either way they'll enjoy the experience and either way it'll be an unbelievable cross promotion. I mean those, our fans will certainly tune in to see the episode of Psych and hopefully we get some Psych fans to watch WWE.
Now I wanted to know how much of your role from The Marine did you use for this role?
This was a little bit different because The Marine role was more punch you in the face and see how big the explosion can be type of thing, but this it certainly was, I think this was that kind of spin off. They wanted that kind of super badass, you know, toughest man alive, that type of, that type of stick. But I didn't want to give the same thing. I wanted to be able to show just a, you know, a little bit of the humor, a little bit of more, a little bit more depth just because the people who have already seen The Marine have kind of already seen that. So I tried to take what we did in that movie so that it would be relative and kind of add a little bit to it.
The reason I asked is I was surprised to see Robert Patrick. What was it like working with him again?
John Cena: Yeah. It was awesome man. We, it was really, really good to see him. He's one of my favorites. We have some good times together, it was, what a pleasure it was that he was just coincidentally he was on set at the same time and there we are in more scenes together, it was really something special.
And between Gus and Shawn, the characters on Psych, who do you think would win in the ring?
John Cena: You know what I just, because of his kooky quirkiness I like, I like James. He's a fun dude to be around, extremely, extremely witty and that can get you miles and miles in the WWE ring.
How do you handle the fame when it comes to kids? Do you treat them like you would any other fan or do you take that role extra seriously because you're making impressions on a bunch of young guys or what?
John Cena: No. That's, I think that's something that you have to take seriously, and I think that's something in today's day and age that isn't taken quite seriously enough to be frank, especially with us really promoting the fact that we're TV PG and we're kind of welcoming our youth audience. It goes without saying that you have to be able to, if you're in a position where you're supposed to be a positive influence on these young people that you are a positive influence on these young people. And it does, once again it takes extra time but it's one thing that can really, really pay off in the long run. I think we all have experiences when we were young where we either had an interaction with someone we admired or you know, had a vision of how they were and found out that they weren't necessarily that and that it tends to be a big let down sometimes. So if I'm supposed to be the person that a lot of these young people believe in I just, I try to do the best I can to be that guy. And then my personality on television is not a far stretch from who I am in real life, so it's not, it's not that hard it just takes a lot more time.
So did you enjoy doing the comedy, I mean and Psych is such a great show, I mean did, was it, a different step for you?
John Cena: Yeah. No I did have a good time doing that. I think everybody you know, we all have a sense of humor and I'm not one to take myself too seriously but I very rarely can feel that side with the nature of WWE programming, so I was really, really excited about doing it.
So you're a funny guy in normal life?
John Cena: I'd say that, that depends on who you ask. I'd like to think I don't bring the party down.
My question for you is for those of us who might not have seen the episode yet we love the Psych outs at the end of the show if you're not familiar with that since you've seen bits and pieces of the show, did you get involved with any of the Psych outs at the end?
John Cena: I don't know which one they used because there's the episode I have, the version I saw didn't have it, but they've got some good material and whenever they show it on TV I'm sure they'll have the extra stuff on the Web, so it's something that you're going to want to see, I'll put it to you that way.
The guys have such amazing comedy duo together, what do you think it is that keep that comedy and comedic timing together with the guys since you've gotten to know them?
John Cena: Certainly it's a yin and yang, you know, Dule is very slapstick, Dule's over the top and James is very, very witty and he's got that dry sense of humor that just matches well.
James if you can hear me I was wondering, we love the theme song to the show Psych and certainly you got Boys to Men to remix it up a bit, is there somebody else that you'd really love to see take a turn at the Psych theme song?
James Roday: Yeah there's actually a couple people I'd love to see take a turn. I think the Chipmunks should do it. I think that maybe we could, maybe we could structure like a, a holiday episode or something where the Chipmunks just come in and blast it and do their thing. And then I think David, a David Bowie cover of our theme song would probably go over pretty, pretty nicely as well.
I just wanted to ask, since you guys have been off the air for the winter hiatus and of course Monk has ended you guys are now kind of that flagship original series for USA or the longest running original series right now. What's that like? Has that changed the way that you guys look at the show now?
James Roday: I feel older and my knees feel older. You know what, it's a testament I think to, to the sort of little engine that could mentality that we've had from the very beginning with the show, that we have sort of stuck around long enough to be anybody's flagship. USA does such a great job sort of branding and packaging their shows and you know, they move and they sort of you got to keep up, you've really got to keep up with the train. And we've managed to sort of kind of continuously reinvent ourselves and become this sort of hybrid show that can stick around hopefully no matter what else is going on around it. So it feels good for us, I'm not sure if it makes any difference to anyone else, but it, but it feels good to have lasted, to have lasted this long and still be standing for sure.
You have some really great guest stars in this episode and I was just wondering are there any guest stars that you've really wanted to get that you haven't yet that maybe you're looking forward to?
James Roday: I always say David Bowie, that's sort of like my stock answer to every question regarding who I'd like to have come on the show, who I'd like to sing our theme song, who I'd like to meet for coffee in a completely unrelated non-Psych atmosphere. He's just the God, he's the man and I think we could probably make really good use of him on our show. In addition to him there's sort of like a, a little like mini-Psych dream that before it's all said and done we would be able to have all five members of the Breakfast Club. We're only, you know, we've only nailed two of the five, so we've got our work, we've got our work cut out for us. And I think Emilio is going to prove especially tricky but these are the kinds of goals that we've set on our show.
If Shawn and Gus were a wrestling duo what would their names be and what would your stage attire be?
James Roday: Wow. That's, it's thought it, it's intent, it's thorough, it's timely, it's appropriate and my answer is going to be rather rudimentary. I'm going to go ahead and call us Black and Tan, me of course being Black and Gus being Tan. And I'm going to say that we come to the ring in our Black and Tan want to be male model attire and that we are what is known in the WWE universe as jobbers, meaning that it is our job to come in and get our asses beat by whatever tag team that they're trying to push at the time. There it is, there's my estimation of Shawn and Gus as wrestlers.
Now in the episode Let's Get Harry we get to meet Shawn and Gus' wrestling dolls. Will they be making a comeback and in real life do you own any dolls?
James Roday: I think we sort of, I think if I remember correctly we kind of retired the dolls right then and there in the moment in the episode because we sort of had the epiphany that we were a little too old and they were actually a little creepy. So I don't know if the dolls are making a comeback. In real life I don't have any dolls, but the Robert doll, the Robert doll that we used in Tuesday the 17th is floating around somewhere and I think (Steve Franks) took it and I might try and get it from him.
I've been rewatching the show with my son, he's almost two and he runs around yelling Psych, I know all the time and is a big fan of Shawn and Gus and the theme song. And I had forgotten about the close talking scene from I think it was in season two with you and Juliet where you almost kiss.
James Roday: Yes.
I was wondering if we were going to get any more scenes like that. I know Abigail's coming back and I was wondering if you were going to move forward with her or if we'd see you getting closer to Juliet?
James Roday: Well, I can tell you that our, our dear show creator Mr. Franks has sort of ambiguously informed us that he does have, that he does have sort of definitive plans for Shawn and Juliet in season five, which we haven't started yet. As far as the stretch run here in season four, I think it's a little more tangled up and there's lots of different moving pieces and like you said Abigail's floating around in there and we're going to, well it's complicated you know, it's, it's complicated for a little while longer.
So earlier John Cena was talking with us and he told us that you were a closet WWE wrestling fan. So I guess I want to know if John was like able to teach you any moves or anything like that for gig on Monday and if you're ready to get in there?
James Roday: First of all the whole point of being a closet fan of anything is that people aren't supposed to then out you and say that you're closet fans of stuff.
James Roday: So that, so now I'm going to have to beat John's ass, because I don't think they've factored that into our very tight itinerary. As far as moves go, you know here's the thing, and this is my, this is my fear and I think it's legitimate. I go into the ring on like a one off deal guest hosting Raw or whatever, I flash some stuff, and I know I have and know I've had since I was a kid, all of the sudden there's a conflict of interest because Raw wants me to join the roster.
James Roday: And I, and I have, you know, I'm obviously I have commitments to Psych. So I guess that's the thing I'm most weary of heading into Monday is I feel like I'm going to have to pull back so that I can get out of there without a contract offer. That's where, that's where it's tricky for me.
Okay. So you're not going to be get in too much.
James Roday: Yeah you know what, my feel, I feel like I'm probably going to have to purposely look awkward, you know, so to try and help sell the fact that I'm just an actor and you know, these guys are crazy and I can't do what they do. And you know I feel like I'm going to have to sort of really work hard to sell that because I think we all know that, you know, I could, I could moonlight drive anybody at any given, at any given moment I could starship, actually if I could starship flight someone, I could 911 someone, I could STFU (duke) show, but you know what, this isn't about me. And I do recognize that. No the truth is quite frankly if I got in the ring and those guys even like accidentally bump me too hard my boy would disintegrate, so my feeling is that it's probably safest for me to enjoy the action from, from a safe distance and I think Dule would probably agree with that.
Have you ever just had dreams of like getting in there with like a ladder or like a table and chair match or anything like that?
James Roday: Absolutely. Dreams because dreams are safe. You can do serious damage in dreams, you know what I mean? But then you wake up and you realize wow. I am in my 30s now and I get aches and pains for no reason at all. Imagine what would happen to me if I took a ladder to the back. Yeah. I have so much respect for these guys.
It's good that you're keeping a safe, safe distance.
James Roday: Yeah, a safe distance and these guys are unbelievable, they're amazing athletes and the stuff that they do to their bodies and continue to do to their bodies is beyond anything that we as, as normal earthlings can comprehend.
Did you ever go to like a live WWE show as a kid or anything like that just as a fan?
James Roday: You know I was, I grew up in Texas and it was back, it was back when there was still regional territories before Vince had, had bought up the earth and we had world class championship wrestling, which is where the Von Erichs all got their start. Kerry ultimately actually did make it to the WWF as the Texas Tornado I believe. So they would do local shows like in San Antonio and Dallas and I would go check those out. The WWF was some sort of unachievable, unreachable East Coast dream that could only be watched on television. But I have since been as an adult, now that it's out there and I might as well just fess up to it. I went to the Royal Rumble a couple years ago at the Madison Square Garden and it's just sheer, I mean it's sports entertainment, it's so pure, they pack so many people into those place and it's families and it's kids and it's moms enjoying it with their sons and dads enjoying it with their daughters. And you know, it's good, clean sort of escapist fun. And that's why I'm coming out of the closet you know, because I think that's a good thing.
This has been my favorite episode since ghosts and I really like the idea of this mercenary type guy who also happens to have a past from the government that will get him in anywhere, and I'm, and the mysterious boss and all that. Do you have plans to do more with that if John is available?
James Roday: Absolutely. That's a no brainer, because of everything you just said, which is what an interesting, like what a truly interesting character to explore. And I mean there's almost nowhere that you can't go with that guy, you know. His moral code is ambiguously pointing North but in sort of a gray way and you know, he's got every physical tool you could possibly imagine and he can get in just about anywhere you can possibly need to get in, and he has an emotional investment in Juliet, who is one of our regulars. So for me it's, it's an absolute no brainer to bring him back and because the way we left things the way that we did there are countless ways that we could do that. And we had a blast with John and I think he's great in the episode and you know, unless he's lying to us I would suspect that he would be up for coming back as well, so.
What is, what was it like working in that environment that that episode presented to you?
James Roday: Well first and foremost it was interesting because there is no military base where we shoot in Vancouver. So we managed to sort of transform an old asylum for the mentally and criminally insane into a, into a military base, and when you watch the episode like, I mean I'm sure military experts you know, will probably be cringing but I'd buy it. So props to our production design team for that. And then you know, anytime you put on fatigues and you know, you sort of get yourself into that military mindset, especially in these our times it, you take a, you have to take a moment to reflect, I mean we're obviously silly and we don't take ourselves very seriously and we're a comedy. But you know the truth is there are, there are a lot of young men and women out there wearing those uniforms that put their lives on the line every day. So there was that, there was that element going on as well where we would just stop and look at each other and be like wow. Here we are making jokes but there are other people that don't get to make jokes. So it was interesting.
No limits, no boundaries, what story line would you like to write or see in the show that has not been explored enough yet?
James Roday: I would, my gut would be to go to a place that hasn't been explored at all, and that would be, well actually okay, I have one and 1A. One is you know, we do so much singing on our show and everybody sings, it just seems like we're way overdue for a musical, we just got to come up with a clever way to do it. And now that Glee has sort of, you know, captured the countries sort of attention and is in everyone's subconscious I think it's probably the best time ever because they do it so well that I think the expectation for us would be to just, just do it okay, and I know we can pull that off. So we should do, we should do a musical episode. Beyond that I think a dream therapy episode where Gus and, or Shawn and Gus agree to sort of participate in some sort of dream therapy experiment where they could actually go into each other's dreams. That's been, to me that's no boundaries, that's like Shawn walking around Gus' dream world and everybody being able to see what Gus dreams about. I don't know if we could top that. You'd get, you'd get like a giant foot locker organized like it's a mile long like where everything is organized and color tabbed just so, and then like Halle Berry is in charge of keeping it like safe.
Are there any concerns about the show moving to a new night?
James Roday: You know we're all just sort of cautiously optimistic that it's going to be a good thing. We, we've been in a kind of a you know, what, what the industry would consider a tough time slot for our whole run, you know a lot of our sort of loyal fan base I would suspect are not always home Friday's at 10:00. So the idea that a lot of those fans that usually have to TIVO us and watch us you know, on Saturdays or later in the week might actually be home to watch us live I think is a good thing. And yeah that's, we're, that's sort of what we're going with and a move to Wednesday can only be good.
I had previously asked this question to John Cena as well but from you between Gus and Shawn who you think would win in the wrestling ring?
James Roday: I think Shawn takes that because he, he wouldn't think twice about cheating. In the words, in the immortal words of Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Win if you can, lose if you must but always, always cheat." And I think while Gus would, would come in with his ideals and attempt to win a fair and square match, you know, Shawn would go to any lengths necessary to walk out of there with the victory even if it was painted.
How much of the stuff that you guys do on the show how much of it is real, how much of it is improv? I mean is it mostly you go by the script or you do improv?
James Roday: I think the balance is, I think we started off in the beginning much heavier on the improv side. And I think as we sort of found our groove and we've been lucky enough to continuously sort of improve and supplement our writing staff with each season I think is a really, I think we've sort of come full circle now and it's like our scripts are really, really, really solid and any improv-ing that happens is just icing. So yeah.
We want to see you on Monday when you're hosting on WWE, we want to see you get all into your WWE and take off your shirt and wear the spandex pants, is there any chance that's going to happen?
James Roday: One a scale of 1 to 10 I'm going to say the chances of that happening are between a 2 and a 3. The reason being, I think they've come up with, you know, we're sort of all brainstorming about what it is exactly that we're going to do on the show and I'm not, I can't commit to like shirtless in ring action until I know exactly what they have in store for us.
You can watch James Roday along with Dule Hill and special guest star John Cena on the new episode of Psych on Wednesday, January 27 at 10 PM ET and you can watch Roday and Hill host this Monday's WWE Monday Night Raw on January 25, both on the USA Network.