PSYCH Creator on the Evolving Films and Moving to Peacock - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PSYCH Creator on the Evolving Films and Moving to Peacock

July 14, 2020 by  

Psych 2 Lassie Come Home preview

For as light-hearted and fun as the PSYCH franchise is, adapting the show to its current movie series has kept creator Steve Franks on his toes.

When the team reunited to 2017’s film PSYCH: THE MOVIE, Franks (who directed it and the upcoming sequel LASSIE COME HOME) was in the middle of prepping production when they learned co-star Timothy Omundson suffered a massive stroke.

After it became apparent Omundson would be well enough to be a part of the film in some capacity—though not in the Lassiter-heavy original draft—Franks and co-writer/star James Roday Rodriguez rewrote PSYCH: THE MOVIE over three nights “at James’ favorite restaurant pub,” Franks shares.  “Because we’re so pragmatic, we were just thinking about Tim’s insurance and keeping his SAG benefits going. Suddenly, we’re like okay, this will be our rallying call, we’ll do this movie.”

So when the scribes, along with PSYCH 2 co-writer Andy Berman, set out to pen LASSIE COME HOME, they knew they wanted to center Omundson, and his real-life recovery.

“How do we how do we involve him as much as possible? Let’s figure out something to not ignore his recovery, and yet honor his struggle and his challenge,” Franks recalls. “And so we wrote around that.”

In LASSIE COME HOME, Lassiter is recovering at a clinic after being ambushed on the job. But when things go awry, he recruits Shawn (Roday Rodriguez) and Gus (Dulé Hill) to help him get to the bottom of things.

“It was both liberating in knowing that we could own the whole [recovery process], but we also had a lot of challenges in that Tim had never been on a set since the incident had happened,” Franks says. (The film was shot in 2019.) “[Tim] had to fly out of the country, and there was so many variables that could have just gone haywire. So we had to write [him] in being conscious, but in PSYCH world, I always say we’re brazenly optimistic.”

“But in this case, it was really great,” he continues. “It was a lot different, but we knew we were getting Tim, and how much of Tim we were going to be able to get was between us and Tim and his wife and his team.”

However, as they were getting ready to film, they were thrown another curveball: Maggie Lawson (who plays Juliet) and Kirsten Nelson (who plays Chief Vick) got pilots, which would conflict with the film’s shooting schedule. “Our rule is, whatever job anybody can get can carry them in the long run, we’ll do everything we can to make it work,” Franks says. “So we rewrote Maggie story to facilitate [her limited availability], because her pilot shot exactly in the middle of our shoot.”

“It’s always something; we can never just have like a regular script and write it and shoot it like a regular show,” he continues. “We always have to find a way to make it more challenging.”

The final off-screen twist came for Franks when the decision came to delay the film’s planned USA Network release and instead use it to help launch the new streaming platform Peacock. (Which is where the film will live, starting on Wednesday, July 15.)

Franks admits he was skeptical when he heard LASSIE COME HOME would debut on Peacock, its first home outside of the show’s eight-season run and first film’s launch on USA Network. “At first, I was like, ‘Can’t we just put it on USA so everyone can see it?'” he says. “Then they laid it out: ‘Steve come to the future.’ The idea was, ‘Listen, if we go to Peacock and this makes any kind of impact on this new service that we’re really excited about, then that really opens a chance to do more of these [films].’ And that got me excited. It might be far and away the best place for us, especially since our whole catalog will be on the streaming service.”

The creative team found out about their new home—and the delay—after the movie was shot and everything was basically locked. (Initially, they planned to lean into the anticipated holiday season release by “add[ing] a whole Christmas element to it,” Franks shares. “Luckily, we didn’t.”) The result is essentially the same movie that would have aired on USA Network.

“We have all these act breaks in here where this dramatic moment happens, and the screen goes to black for a second, and then is not dramatic anymore,” Franks says with a laugh. “It’s the curse of the streaming situation. [But some] people will have the ad-supported version as well. But even when I watch Hulu, the commercial breaks are never where the regular commercial breaks are.”

And for the next film—Franks hopes to make four more—the lack of act breaks will allow the writers additional freedom. “It’s really liberating, and, writing the next one, should we be so lucky and fortunate to make the next four of these, it’ll be fantastic, because we’ll be writing to where the story fits, not to where the next commercial fits,” he says. “That makes me excited—all the possibilities.”

PSYCH 2: LASSIE COME HOME, Wednesday, July 15, Peacock


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