'Arrested Development': Mitchell Hurwitz on the movie -- and the Romney joke you never saw

Kristen-Wiig

Image Credit: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Now that America has had time to absorb the new season of Arrested Development (and catch up on some sleep), series creator/executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz (him?) spoke to reporters on a conference call today about the 15 episodes released on Netflix, the future of the franchise, and more. The highlights:

• Hurwitz said that a variety of mediums could have been — and can be used — for continuing the saga of the Bluths: “Give us the canvas and let’s see what we come up with. If it were a movie canvas, we would absolutely tailor to that, but the life of the family does seem to play out episodically, so I think there’s an argument for both things. Really, whoever wants it. Maybe we could do it as a series of articles. Remember when Woody Allen got turned into a comic strip? I think we should go to the comic strip format.”

• Speaking of that movie… “My hope was and is that we would do a theatrical movie,” Hurwitz said, though he added that AD is technically the property of Fox, so the producers can’t pitch it around to different studios. The possibility of a made-for Netflix movie instead of a theatrical release hasn’t been “explored” yet, either. Whatever that next step is — be it a movie or more episodes– there is no timeline for it. However, “we’re going to not do what we did last time which was to keep saying, ‘It’s coming, it’s coming it’s coming!’” he said. “If there’s more, I promise you we’ll put a date out there.”

• Hurwitz discussed the decision to finally show Tracey Bluth (Maria Thayer), the deceased wife of Michael (Jason Bateman) and mother of George Michael (Michael Cera) who was referenced but never seen in the old series. “We just wanted to kind of sneak it in there, and we wanted to also kind of slyly point out that… Isla Fisher’s character, Rebel Alley was a pretty close match for Tracey,” said Hurwitz, “And there a couple of other reasons that have yet to be revealed, so I can’t tell you.”

• When asked about the show’s reviews, Hurwitz said he tries to have a “pretty open attitude about it,” as he realizes that he was taking a chance with the new format of these episodes (each of which focused on a particular Bluth). “Obviously everybody wants to be loved all the time, it’s not realistic,” he said. “But also it’s certainly not going to be realistic if you’re going to be ambitious in term of changing the form…. There are risks either way. I think if I had done the exact same show I had done last time, there’d be blowback to that… There are certain things that you agree with, certain things you grow from, and certain things that you kind of expect if you try something novel. The bad news is I’m going to do it next time too. I like the idea of playing with the form and finding a new way to get at the themes of the family.”

• He approves of fans who have decided to re-edit the show and/or re-arrange the action in chronological order. “I love it. It’s like sampling, you know?…. The fact that they still have ways in which to play with it and to dig it apart and to enjoy it, that’s really great. I kind of even like it when people are critical of it —  I say ‘kind of’ cautiously — because it’s like, ‘Oh good, they’re enjoying being critical of it. Anything to create a little joy out there.'” Hurwitz hinted that if he ever did an alternate edit of the season, it would look different than a fan edit because it would include new voiceovers and extra footage: “We have a lot of material that we’re planning on putting out on Netflix at a later time, probably, to tie in there.”

• One reason that Hurwitz & Co. abandoned the idea that these new episodes could be watched in any order? They were originally planning to wrap up Michael’s story in a final episode, but Bateman’s windows of availability decreased when he began shooting another film. A decision was made to dole out his storyline win small pieces in other character’s episodes, which would cause confusion if viewers watched those episodes in a different order. Said Hurwitz: “Really what emerged was that if you hoped to tell with a beginning, middle and end, randomness is your enemy.”

• Why did the writers create the character of right-wing congressional candidate Hebert Love (Terry Crews) on former Presidential candidate Herman Cain? “We just loved this idea, like this this guy is just edgy enough for Newport Beach,” said Hurwitz, noting: “Herman Cain but also Herbert Love are both such charismatic, kind of — this sounds a little condescending I don’t mean it that way — adorable guys. They’re just so funny and so interesting, and it just felt like a rich area for comedy. And it also just felt just politically incorrect enough.” But Cain wasn’t the only politician that Hurwitz & Co. had planned to spoof: “There was going to be a Mitt Romney joke in the story line where George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) has this land in Mexico… and they were going to be constantly sort of spooked and chased off the land by these really handsome men,” revealed Hurwitz. “I was going to try to get George Clooney and people like that. And it’s like, ‘Who are these guys? Who are these Mexicans that keep trying to get us off their property?’ And at one point they were going to say, “We are the Mexican Romneys!’ Because there’s a whole strain of Mexican Romneys down there from the period in which they were expatriates and polygamously marrying. His grandparents started a little camp down there.”

• The decision to leave the new season unresolved was intentional. “I always like the idea of ‘And there’s something else,’” Hurwitz said, noting that historically with the show, “I’ve always tried to do that George Lucas trick of Darth Vader flying away.” As for the story line with George Michael and Michael, “if [the show] were never to come back again, you could look back, maybe not today, but you could look back on the last episode of this season and say ‘Wow, look at that, he broke out of the Bluth circle…. What is the next step if you were to have that kind of situation with your father, the closest person to you? What does happen next? As it turns out, I do have answers to that, but I just need someone to let me make them.”

Read more:
Netflix wants more ‘Arrested Development’
Arrested Development: Review
‘Arrested Development’: Did You See THIS?

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