The Bluths will be back in May. Netflix will drop all fourteen episodes at once. Each episode will run around half an hour. Save a sick day for that month.
The cast (sans David Cross and Tony Hale) of Arrested Development and creator-executive producer Mitch Hurwitz greeted a room of very eager reporters Wednesday to talk about — but not spoil — the new season. They reiterated that they’re hoping it’s a seven-hour first act to the Arrested movie Hurwitz would eventually like to do. (But don’t fret. “There is certainly a satisfying conclusion to these episodes if for some unfortunate reason the movie does not happen,” said Jason Bateman.) Was Hurwitz at all nervous about re-launching the show and risking tarnishing its legacy? “I could vomit right this moment. I could literally vomit on cue … so yes,” he said. Reporters got a sneak peek at a deleted scene – which we pray everyone will get to see someday – in which Lucille and Buster are in her penthouse and she’s blowing cigarette smoke into his mouth while he runs back and forth to the patio to get rid of it. If that’s the kind of stuff considered too weak to make it in, we are all in for good times. Jessica Walter said when she read the scripts for the first time, she made a point of busting into the writers room when she arrived on set. “I said, ‘I have to tell these writers what they accomplished,” which is a show so different from the original and “beyond anything I hoped,” Walter said. Excited yet? Here’s everything else we heard:
The only way Hurwitz was able to get the cast together again is to dedicate each episode to one character’s point of view. Episodes won’t feature every character because production was only able to lock actors for very specific periods of time. Some scenes will play and then replay from different perspectives in later episodes. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. “It didn’t seem as impossible to me until we got into it and then I realized how impossible it was,” Hurwitz said. He’s about to begin the massive puzzle that will be post-production. Originally, he thought of doing the season Choose Your Own Adventure-style, but the technology wasn’t there. In any case, Bateman said you shouldn’t compare the original series to the new one. “The original series had 22 minutes each and all the characters in every single episode,” he said. “This is something that’s completely different on purpose, creatively, for a format Netflix affords us.” It’s “sort of a hybrid package of Arrested Development.”
Some fans know Arrested Development as well if not better than Hurwitz. He said that while he was still writing Arrested Development as a movie, he came across fan-fiction inspired by the series that “scooped” stories from his script. He’s crazy proud.
Michael Cera joined the writers room. Hurwitz invited Cera to spend time with them and the actor wound up sticking around. “I had some wild ideas that didn’t make it,” Cera demurred. But Hurwitz says the writers came to depend on Cera, who pitched stories and new characters. Said Hurwitz: “Wow, Arrested Development is like his first language.”
You should watch the episodes in order if possible. “There is absolutely an order we have put together to create the maximum number of surprises,” Hurwitz said. “That’s part of our storytelling. If you watch in the order we prescribe, you will get to episode 14 and go, That’s why he did that in episode one!” But it’s also cool if you eventually want to skip around and watch all the takes of a particular scene at once. Hurwitz said Jeffrey Tambor was one of the first to push to release all fourteen episodes at once.
If they can help it, no – or very few – spoilers will be revealed before May. Why? Because “we want to reward the fans for sticking with us,” Hurwitz said. He very much credits them for the project’s very existence. “One of the challenges of the [original] show was to be surprising and that was easy to do when no one was watching,” he said, and then admitted that he knew from the beginning that there would be fourteen episodes for Netflix instead of the ten initially announced. “The idea was, Let’s say 10 and then the fans will be happy when there’s even more.” Walter, however, did spill that she had “finally gotten to play Joan Crawford” this season, and that Lucille’s penthouse was recreated down to the nails in the wall. Spoilers!