Psych Meets Clue: A Chat with the Guest Stars of “100 Clues”

Everything about our Psych set visit was special, but it was an extra treat to sit down with the three guest stars of “100 Clues,” Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull, and Leslie Ann Warren. All three had trekked to Vancouver to be part of the Clue-themed funfest and they took time from the shoot to chat with us about the episode.

Mull said the pace of “100 Clues” was very similar to the energy of shooting the film. “It’s funny. [It] feels very akin to what it was like on Clue, a lot of the mob scenes, running here, running there,” he says. “I think they’ve captured the essence of whatever it was we did. They got that. It’s been nice.” None of the actors had seen an episode of Psych, so they were coming in a bit blind. Mull joked that his TV watching usually involves a ball. They were all honored to have the film picked as the basis for an homage.

“Oh it’s fabulous. Clue has taken on its own life, like Rocky Horror Show, you know? I’ll go into a restaurant and some 20-year old server will come up to me and recite all these lines,” says Warren. “I know that they do [a live version] throughout the country in different places [and] there’s a movie theater in L.A. that has a Clue night. And everybody dresses up and they do all the lines and sing. [They] know the whole show, so it’s fabulous that we’re here, doing this.” Mull joked that it took 40 years for the film to become a cult hit.

Warren was very complimentary of the Psych family, having recently wrapped her own USA show, In Plain Sight. “James [Roday] and Dulé [Hill] are so darling and sweet and generous and lovely,” she says. “All of them are so open and collaborative. [In Plain Sight] was a-a drama and it was very intense…so it had a whole different energy. [Psych] has been…really creative and fun.” “I’m impressed by how silly they are,” adds Mull. “They [never] worry [about whether something] is too big or [goes] too far. These are not questions that enter their minds. They’re willing, they just go for it and it’s great.”

While Warren and Mull had worked together since the film Clue, and each knew the other had been cast in the episode, it was the first time Lloyd and Warren had seen each other since 1985, and he didn’t know that she and Mull were doing the show until he arrived on set. “I’m looking at a call sheet and discovered that you both were cast members,” says Lloyd. “I was blown away. I just couldn’t believe it.” Mull said the cast reunion was an added bonus. “[The fact that] I was gonna be with these two, you know,” says Mull. “You don’t say ‘no.’ In fact, I’m sure Michael McKean would be here if he had both legs operative right now.” [Note: McKean had been injured in a pedestrian accident last spring.]

The trio recounted the madness of shooting the movie and said Psych was a much easier pace. “It was insane on [the film’s] set. I mean I really feel like we were like out of control,” says Warren. “All of these brilliantly, hysterically funny comedic actors thrown together and doing their thing and this poor director could not corral us to save his life. And we were cracking up at each other’s stuff. One of my favorite moments [was a scene with Mull] where we were trying to get through a door and it took [so many takes that] we milked it until it was ridiculous.”

Mull points out that they had an amazing cast to feed that frenzy. “You have to remember that we had Michael McKean, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, [and] Tim Curry [and] we were all there, every day in every scene,” he says. “So when you have that many people who are certifiable in one room, [it’s a lost cause and] poor Jonathan [Lynn was a] by the letter of the book director.

Warren recalled that he had them watch Rosalind Russell in My Girl Friday because he wanted them to try to catch the cadences. “And that was the last thing we did,” she says. “[We didn’t] actually pay attention to any direction he gave us. It was balls to the wall after that.” Mull says he wishes there had been a behind the scenes crew filming the shoot. “Because that would be something I would probably go out and see again tonight,” he says.

He adds that the Clue shoot happened sequentially in order because they were all on one set in one costume. “There was no reason to do day five before day one. You could do one, two three, four [and on],” he says. “We never knew, during the course of the shooting, who the killer was. We didn’t know if we were guilty or not. And then we didn’t know at all until we were done [that] there were gonna be four endings.”

“I think because we were there for three and a half months in this one set that was built on the Paramount lot [that] it took on its own sort of life,” says Warren. “With [Psych], we’re doing a week’s worth of work that we shot in three and a half months…trying to create as much as you can in that moment [except doing so within] the reality of serving a television series, which is ultimately different. So it’s a very different energy.” Mull said their stir-craziness on the film is probably similar to folks trapped in an elevator. “Something happens to your sense of logic and your ability to communicate,” he says. “So it just blew out on Clue. [If] we stayed here long enough, we could get that to happen [again].”

Comparing TV comedy now to the shows that Mull and Lloyd came up in (Roseanne and Taxi to name two), both actors said that they were happy just to be working. “I get asked questions [about] how much TV has changed, and I don’t feel it particularly [has] because I get a call, I go to the job,” says Lloyd. “[I] act, director says action, and [that] pretty much seems the same. I guess the kind of comedy is a little different from 70s and 80s, but I don’t feel I’ve changed the way that [I work.]”

Mull agrees. When we chatted, he was coming off a stint on Two and a Half Men and said the content is a little bit different now. “[What] they’re talking about, and what they are ‘getting away with, is different. But as far as a performer, it’s still the same thing,” he says. “You get your script. You learn your script. There’s a tape mark on the floor, you hit it. You get two takes. You go out to the craft services, eat cheese puffs, and have coffee and come back and do the next part and then you go home on Friday night. It’s not that different. It’s just that some things are more permissible, I guess.” He said stand-up comedy is also far racier than it used to be. “[It’s] ridiculous,” he says. “I mean Lenny Bruce would be a choir boy compared to a lot of things that are happening now…so that part is different.”

We’re so glad they brought their humor to Psych. “100 Clues” is a silly, goofy, fun hour of TV, and it airs tonight at 10 pm E/9 C on USA. You can vote online to pick the killer at USA’s website and on Twitter. Click here for details.

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