Kirsten Nelson – Psych: The Movie
By: Paige Zinaman
Q) What are some of the recent projects you have coming up?
A) The one that’s most recent is I’m doing a show called “Versus” and that’s on the Go90 platform, which is a streaming platform and it’s through AwesomenessTV. It’s sponsored by Gatorade and it’s about a girl’s lacrosse team on the high school tournament level. It’s a great story with a limited run. We’re doing six episodes. I am the team’s coach and I’m also one of the player’s mom. All the drama that comes along with girls playing sports and friendships on and off the field, the competitiveness on and off the field through family, through friends and through relationships. It’s a really cool show because there’s data how much fulfilling girls’ lives can be if they continue playing sports. Not just fulfilling like “I feel happy,” but offering them life skills. There’s this statistic that, after a certain point, girls will start dropping out of sports because they either don’t have the family support or the infrastructure there through sports clubs or parks. They concentrate more on boys’ sports. They continue boys’ sports teams and the rate of drop out for girls’ sports is not as even. And what they’re saying is if girls continue to play sports they offer them leadership skills and they offer them team skills. So, I was really excited to be a part of this, to be a part of that voice to continue to encourage girls to continue to play. There’s also one coming up in the Winter, I think in February, but I can’t say quite yet. I don’t have the go ahead to let people know that I was involved with this project, but it will be on TV a lot.
Q) Something else you have coming up is the Psych: The Movie. “Psych” was an unique show. What do you think made it such a fan favorite?
A) Let’s launch back eleven years ago when these two guys emerged on TV screens. They had a unique friendship and it was two guys having this friendship of silliness all these aspirations with one another, of love for each other in the sense of friends completing each other’s sentences and always having each other’s back. At that point, and it wasn’t necessarily just a snarky relationship, so many times guys show their affection for each other by being snarky towards each other and though our guys do there is something deeper there. They truly do care about each other. I think that can’t be underplayed. Why fans liked it, they’re probably good looking, too. I guess if I had to view them through that kind of lens, Dule [Hill] and James [Roday] are nice guys. But it’s comedic. It was something people could sit down and watch with their families and at the time especially with USA Network that was joyful. We were paired with “Monk” at that point and we were fun shows that you could sit down and watch together and that made an impact with families. We’ve been told this. People will contact us via social media or through letters, “I was able to watch this with my kids” or “I was able to watch this with my mom” or “My dad and I always had a date for Friday night, we’d sit down and watch the show then we’d go into our own Friday nights.” I don’t know why that formula worked at that time. I don’t think any of us knew it would go as long as it did because it’s kind of hard to look at a formula while you’re in the middle of it going “This works!” We just knew that it did and we knew that we were having a really great time doing it and we wanted it to continue. The fact that we got to come back a couple years after we wrapped up airing was a real treat.
Q) How was it getting back into Chief Vick after being away for as long as you were?
A) I think (Maggie [Lawson] said this when we were in New York) everyone was a little nervous. Were we going to be able to recapture that magic that everyone had, but I was excited about revisiting the Chief. But having gotten the script, I realized the Chief was there, but she was something more and that made it especially exciting to be back and to put on the Chief suits and to get back in those heels because they took these characters that we love and that we knew like the back of our hands and it was very easy sliding into the Chief’s portrayal. But James Roday and Steve Franks brought a little something extra to every single one of these characters. They rounded them out more and they flushed them out more. So, while we were nervous about stepping back into these roles there was an air of excitement to see what we could bring. So, I’m really looking forward to it and hope we did her proud.
Q) What can the fans expect from Psych: The Movie?
A) Besides delicious flavor? Pineapples. Definitely they can expect pineapples. I think they can expect to not be disappointed. They will see these characters that they grew to love. They are still going to be very familiar to them, but they’re going to be surprised at the storyline and they are going to be surprised at personal relationships. They are going to be pleasantly happy when familiar faces keep showing up every other scene because we brought back guest stars from pervious episodes and previous seasons and they are really fun. I think fans are especially going to be excited about the ending of the movie. Go along for the ride. Definitely get into fear and intrigue and the mystery and all of us coming together to help a member of the Psych family but at the end I think fans are really going to be excited about the ending. So, keep your fingers crossed for more episodes.
Q) Who are some of the guest stars in the movie you can tease?
A) Well, my lips have to be sealed on two main ones. So, know they are going to be super, super fun. Ralph Macchio is back. I didn’t get the chance to work with him that day, which was a bummer because he filmed in the morning and I filmed that afternoon. Our big baddy is going to be two-fold because that’s how “Psych rolls.” You think you know one person and then Boom – they’re the red herring. Zac (Levi) was so much fun to play with. He became apart of the “Psych” family almost immediately. He was a wonderful guy to come play with us because that’s kind of what we do on set – we have fun, we improv, we try new things and Zac was completely game for it and immediately became part of the “Psych” family. Jimmi Simpson is back so Mary Lightly will definitely be on your TV screen again and you may say “Isn’t he dead?” Hm interesting. We’ll just leave it at Jimmi, Ralph and Woody is obviously there (played by Kurt Fuller). And how he gets to San Francisco is going to be a fun little diversion.
Q) What are some of your favorite behind the scenes moments from the movie?
A) Music has always played a big part in “Psych.” I think that’s definitely how we got our musical made. The producers as well as the executives at the network realized how the cast sang with each other or how much we danced with each other as well. That did not end since we been off the air. Tap dancing still happens from Dule Hill between scenes. Camera still rolling he might tap dance with flourish because he knows the cameras are still on. We still sing between takes or when the cameras aren’t rolling 80’s songs or 80’s soundtracks are still pretty amazing. Zac Levi would bring little wireless speakers everywhere he went because that’s kind of who his character is. He would, wherever we had the chairs set up between takes or when they’re changing lighting, turn on his speakers and suddenly David Bowie is blasting in the area and maybe David Bowie is now sung in two-part harmony and there’s some dancing going around. Jazmyn Simon, who is Gus’ love interest in the movie and Dule Hill’s real-life love interest, also became part of our family and it was kind of fun to see she and Dule be a couple on screen and off screen. Sandwiches were still stolen from personal sandwiches and fun times were still had on the weekend.
Q) If you could describe the movie in three words what would they be?
A) The hilarity continues. Is that three words? Yeah, it’s a lot of syllables…Family comes first. But, the hilarity continues is still a good one. Three words, tricky tricky tricky.
Q) Does the movie give hope that there maybe more “Psych” in the future?
A) Short answer, yes. I think that’s why you want to stay until the very end. I mean, why would you turn it off before it’s over? [laughs] But Steve Franks does this at Comic Cons every chance he gets – he says in front perhaps USA Network executives, “I want to do six or seven more of these. Let’s keep doing movies.” Has it been talked about a series revival? Not quite on that level yet, but the talk about continuing to do movies and to revisit these guys wouldn’t it be great if it was once a year? I think we’ll watch to see how well Psych: The Movie does. Hopefully, it will do very well and the excitement surrounding it will be lifted to astronomical degrees, but I think there’s hope for the future to continue to see these people again. If not for us, then I think we definitely need to do a second movie for Tim Omundson. Lassie needs to be front and center of the next movie – not just for the fans, but for us to be together as a family again in one place. So, we need to do a second one for Tim.
Q) What is something you’ve taken away from “Psych?”
A) One thing that Corbin Bernsen said (I think it was between Season One and Season Two)… We were at one of our castmate’s house and we were having a BBQ and we were just hanging out with our families and talking. Corbin kind of looked at all of us and said, “You guys don’t realize how special this is. Coming together as a cast with people you work with and hanging out is something special. I had it on ‘LA Law,’ but I haven’t had it since.” So, what I take away is at that time it was a special family that relationships were formed that we all did truly get along and we enjoyed each other’s company. We were there for each other’s ups and the through downs. That’s when we came together and that support they had for all of us (they being our cast mates) our crew, our producers for me was evident in that they entrusted me with directing an episode and for that I will take away as probably one of the most solid things that I could take away from that experience. I was able to direct a major episode for a television network. And to have the love, trust and support of everyone there from the network on down was life affirming and changing truly. It goes back to that initial BBQ that we had, we had something special and I would love to get back to that again.
Q) Is there anything you’d like to say to the Psych-O’s or you’d like them to know?
A) Psych-O’s are what made this movie happen. It is because of our fanbase that strangely enough (and I say strange because it is) they never went away. When shows wrap up airing, fanbases go away obviously because there is nothing new to keep their interest. Our fanbase stuck with the show even when it was on streaming platforms or in syndication or writing to us or interacting with us on social media. The network saw that and our producers saw that. The fact that new people were discovering the show at all ages…I’ve had twelve-year olds come up to me at my daughter’s school who suddenly realized who I am and say, “I just saw your show! I just discovered your show.” And that’s incredible because they were barely one years old when our show came out. So, the fact that we have new fans discovering our show and we have our old fans who stuck with it and never left…I want to tell all of those people thank you, truly. They made this movie happen.