VANCOUVER, British Columbia (WIVB) — The “Psych” gang is back for another installment in the show’s series of post-finale spinoff movies, as “Psych 3: This is Gus” began streaming on Peacock November 18.
The movie, which was filmed this past summer, faced its share of challenges while filming, however show creator and director Steve Franks and the cast and crew managed to work around these challenges to produce the film. One such challenge was having each person involved in the production quarantine for two weeks upon arrival to set, as the series and films have been shot in Canada.
“Shooting this in another country where the border is closed for non-essential people, we somehow qualified making the movie. I guess workers count, but making this with every actor who comes up has to not only be up here, they would have to quarantine for 14 days before they start working,” Franks said. “It takes a lot of people out of the equation because it used to be, ‘Hey, we fly in this actor for three days, we come in, we do their wardrobe, and then we bring them on set.’”
Often featuring cameos from ‘80s stars, like the members of the “Brat Pack,” or friends of the cast, like Allison Miller and Joel McHale, who each made appearances in “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home,” the “Psych” crew had to find clever ways to incorporate cameos and cast members that couldn’t make the trip or the time commitment to quarantine for the shoot in Canada into “Psych 3.”
“It presented a lot of challenges,” Franks said. He gave examples: “‘Who’s not going to come up?’ ‘How can we find creative ways to get them into the movie without being here?’ and ‘How are we going to do this sequence at the end that cannot possibly have any- it needed every single element that was put into it for it all to work.’ So it was a logistical challenge on top of the creative challenges.”
Franks noted that finding unique solutions to these puzzles may have made the creative process more fun. He said they lost a handful of ideas and guest appearances due to COVID regulations, but found enough ideas to bridge the gap and will push the lost ideas to the next movie.
Franks spoke more to the creative process, saying that writing for a streaming service as opposed to network TV is liberating, as he doesn’t need to write to commercial breaks and can tell the story how he wants to tell it. After making the move to Peacock, the movies are now less confined to a specific runtime and can push the boundaries on language a bit more as well.
“Psych” ended in March 2014 with James Roday Rodriguez and Maggie Lawson’s characters, Shawn Spencer and Juliet O’Hara, moving to San Francisco and getting engaged to cap off the series, with Dulé Hill and Kirsten Nelson’s characters, Burton “Gus” Guster and Karen Vick, making the move to the Bay Area as well. Timothy Omundson’s character, Carlton Lassiter, was appointed as chief of police in Santa Barbara, with Shawn’s father Henry (Corbin Bernsen) and Detective Buzz McNab (Sage Brocklebank) also staying behind.
The story, however, has yet to reach its conclusion, as the first spinoff movie premiered on USA Network in December 2017. The sequel, “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home,” was released on Peacock in the summer of 2020, with a storyline written around Omundson’s real-life stroke, in which his character also had a stroke and struggled to return to daily life.
This installment, titled, “This Is Gus,” a play on the title of NBC’s popular drama series, “This Is Us,” will be about the wedding of Gus and his fiancé, Selene (Jazmyn Simon, Hill’s wife), as well as Selene’s pregnancy and the search for her current husband, from whom she has yet to be divorced.
“You know, it really led to the idea of: this needs to be Gus’ journey, because he’s about to get married, he’s about to have a baby,” said Franks. “So it’s as big of a life choice and life change that we make in these movies. So it was very natural and it was a perfect place to go. And it really, really was a rich template that we could hang our story on.”
Franks added that he enjoyed using his budget to push forward on scenes he hadn’t been able to execute in the past.
“We’ve always been a show that manages to put a lot on-screen with not the hugest budget,” he said. “But I haven’t had to scale back one big stunt yet. Last time, there was going to be a big motorcycle chase. That ended up being: a motorcycle just goes 20 feet and then crashes into a little shed, which was fun too, but it was more fun to have an actual motorcycle chase. So this time, I think we may actually have 15-20 seconds of action.”
One idea Franks has, and wanted to include in the film but couldn’t due to budget constraints, is a James Bond-esque visual intro to play along with the full version of the show’s theme song. The theme, “I Know, You Know,” was written and performed by Franks and his band, however, they have never recorded the full-length version.
“I did get to write a song (for “Psych 3”), but I did not get to fulfill my dreams. That’s what movie number four is all about,” he said, alluding to the next movie to be made. The plan after the finale was to shoot six spinoff films. “I think I need to start upping it to eight.”
Another dream of Franks’ is to officially cast Chief Vick’s husband, an actor he would only describe as “a big piece of casting” that the show has tried to have appear in the past, but has yet to succeed in doing so. Until then, the character’s remaining off-screen will stay a running gag. Franks also discussed the possibility of a Tony Shalhoub cameo, returning as Adrian Monk of San Francisco-based USA Network show, “Monk,” as the character was referenced in the “Psych” finale, but never made it onscreen.
“As far as Monk goes, we wanted to do the nod, but it’s always up to Andy Breckman and Tony Shalhoub if they want to bring Monk back,” Franks said. “Having a platform in one of our little movies, it might be something that we’d have to try to explore- something that gave him more to do. But we would always welcome him at any point. We like the idea that somehow, they share the same universe. I hope Andy Breckman’s okay with that fact.”
Franks credited Breckman with mentoring him through the process of starting a USA Network show last week on the debut episode of Omundson and Lawson’s rewatch podcast, “The Psychologists Are In.”
Ultimately, he credited the fans of the show, fondly referred to by many as “Psych-Os,” for keeping the story alive, rewatching the show, and being dedicated fans on social media, for the ability to produce more spinoff movies.
“Everybody always says that it’s all about the fans, and the fans are the ones that keep us going and all of that stuff,” he said. “It’s amazing that we have people that are that are doing the Psych re-watch again and again and again, or follow us to Peacock… because we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t think people are gonna come over from USA to it.’ But they’re not only following us, they’re loud and persistent and they really kept the beat of the drum going on this thing. We can make as much noise as we want about, ‘Hey, we want to make another movie, that’d be great.’ But it’s just this persistence of the fans wanting more that has allowed us to keep doing it. And it’s such a fun job and it’s such a fun set. And it’s a gift that we’ve received from them. So we always want to do right by them, returning the gifts that they gave.”
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