Bateman was impressed by Hurwitz’s grand vision for the new season, and how it aimed to explore fresh territory instead of cruise down memory lane. (“What he’s doing is so much more ambitious than any of the other episodes ever were,” he says.)
BATEMAN: It would’ve been so easy for Mitch to write nine 25-minute episodes that are just, as he says, greatest hits — a bunch of call backs and some recurring guest stars. And I think that for the most part the Arrested Development audience would’ve even happy to watch that. By the same token, if you compare this to going to see a band in concert, I hate when a band takes my favorite song and changes it so much when they play it live that I can’t even recognize it. I love it when they play it exactly the way I hear it on the radio. I think that he had that person’s concerns in mind as well, and I can say that these episodes have all of that. The song is played completely the same way but the album in its total has a different takeaway feeling than you had from the television show, and I mean that in the best way.”
How have the last seven years treated the Bluths? Let’s just say it hasn’t exactly been a fun, sexy time.
ARNETT: You’re going to find all of them in the very worst versions of themselves — emotionally, financially, socially, because they have been taken over or driven by their own egos, and allowed their own egos to have the better of them all. And it takes them to some very bad places…. None of them are immune to their own instincts, and their instincts are really bad. Even Michael. These are people who consistently make poor choices. It’s like you have nine narcissists who are constantly blaming each other for their own poor decision-making. And I include George Michael in that. That little punk’s just as much to blame as anybody.
But deep down inside...
ARNETT: There is an honor amongst thieves with this group. They are a family at the heart of it. As much as Lucille hates Gob and/or resents whoever, they do ultimately take care of each other. And even though they’re always constantly using each other for their own gain, they cannot be apart from each other. They don’t know how to live in the world without each other. It’s like each one of these people are drowning and they keep reaching for a soggy life vest and pulling each other down. It’s like a drowning daisy chain.
The man who’s supposed to be holding the Bluths together is barely holding it together himself.
BATEMAN: My character thought he was the only sane one, the smart Bluth. And the genes have caught up to him. He’s a little pathetic now, he’s probably realizing that he is not as smart as he thought he was, so he’s a little bit desperate and trying to maintain the veneer of being the only smart one, but the situation has made that challenging in that the money’s not there anymore and his family’s not really around much anymore and you just can’t keep up appearances after a while. He’s starting to deteriorate…. I really like that, instead of making him less tolerant of his family, which would start to be a little monotonous, Mitch actually made Michael more vulnerable and less successful and more beaten down over these years. He’s become more tolerant and more empathetic to the fools that his family are. And maybe he’s starting to realize that he’s a bird of the same feather.
Of course, Gob may have something up his sleeve.
ARNETT: Gob thinks his next trick might be the holy grail of tricks…. Gob is always looking to make a name for himself. He has that thing that he always has, which is he doesn’t feel like he’s getting his just due. And so he’s always looking for grander ways to accomplish that. And they actually seem to be just increasingly sadder ways.
And, yes, Buster is still latching onto Lucille(s)
HALE: Fear and desperation are huge through lines in his life and that will never leave. One thing I always loved about Buster is he really sees life with a totally different perspective than any other person in the family. He sees the innocence in life, he sees a sweetness, he’s incredibly naïve, and even though things have continued to spiral way out of control, he’s in the middle of that chaos but still with that same perspective, just like, “Oh what’s this door?” He kind of walks around in this pleasantville daze. And that remains…. Liza is back [as Lucille 2]. Seeing her again was just awesome. For Buster, there’s always just a switching of Lucilles. He just needs a Lucille in his life, whether it be 1 or 2. His desire is for some empowered female to take over. That’s all he wants. If there’s a Lucille 3, he’ll cling on to her too.… He continues his love of dancing. He likes to move. He just likes to let that body go free.
Hurwitz and the cast remain optimistic that they will reunite again for an Arrested movie. But why stop there?
BATEMAN: There’s something kind of cool about that Michael Apted series [Up], where every seven years they visit them. Maybe there’s a version of that with us. Maybe it’s some episodes every year, maybe it’s every other year, maybe it’s a film. It’s all up to [Mitch]. The notion of revisiting these people and doing this same process creatively with the cast, with the crew and with his writing — yeah, who wouldn’t want to do that repeatedly?
HALE: Whatever it becomes, I’m on board. Everybody leaving whatever they were doing and taking the time to do this shows that we all are massive fans. I think if they came out with babywear we’d be like, “Yep, we’re on board.” “Oh, we’re designing baby clothes? Got it. Sign me up.” Buster would have a fantastic line of onesies.
ARNETT: “Arrested Development: The Ride.” Ultimately we’ll have to build the model home, we’re going to have to build Lucille’s penthouse down in Balboa Island. There will have to be a fully functional banana stand that Michael Cera will be contractually obligated to go work at x number of hours per week. And then I think that we might just end up as an app — only for Android. Who knows?
BATEMAN: Action figures. That would make me extremely happy. [Michael would have] expanding and contracting pleats.
ARNETT: In classic Arrested style, there was no hard wrap date [when filming of the new season ended]. And it’s always been like, there’s been no closure. And I feel like it is this open book, this open story that’s just going to continue to try to tell in one way, shape or form or another. And by no means is it over. It’s become so enmeshed in our lives, it is this thing that we get to share, and that we get to share with our fans…. And we kind of get to root for it too, because we felt like at the time when we made the original series that we were taken off the air prematurely. And now because it’s taken on a life of its own, it’s almost like this thing that none of us can really stop. And none of us really wants to.
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‘Arrested Development’: Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor dish on the new season
‘Arrested Development’: Creator Mitchell Hurwitz talks new season, movie and… bees
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