After all the stops and starts, the alleged returns to TV via Showtime and rumored big-screen movie adaptations, "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz is really and truly unleashing new episodes of his beloved 2003-06 Fox comedy series -- 15 of them, to be exact -- in just one short month.
And Entertainment Weekly has the proof, with a new "AD" cover story that includes set visits, interviews with Hurwitz and the cast, and even details of what sounds like a deliciously disturbing scene involving Gob Bluth (Will Arnett); his nephew, George-Michael (Michael Cera); and a wardrobe marked by leopard vests, leather and chains, and "a--less" pants.
Want more? The May 3 issue of EW, which hit newsstands on April 26, features three different "AD" covers; episode pics of the cast -- which also includes Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat, Portia de Rossi, and Jeffrey Tambor -- with guest stars like Judy Greer and Isla Fisher; and even more scoop on what the Bluth fam will be up to after seven long years out of our sight.
In the interest of not spoiling things with too many specifics, the new episodes will involve birds, Seth Rogen, a black-eyed Bateman, the return of the stair car, Conan O'Brien, Buster in a gray wig, Kristen Wiig, and Gob in gladiator gear. Oh, and Liza Minnelli's return as Bluth family frienemy Lucille Austero.
A few more choice tidbits from the Entertainment Weekly cover story:
- Fans' expectations for the new eps are high, to say the least, but no one put more pressure on Hurwtiz to deliver than Hurwitz himself. "If the first series aspired to be 'The Godfather' in terms of the family, this thing aspires to be a 'Godfather II,'" he tells EW. "I’m sure a lot of people went to see 'The Godfather: Part II' and said, 'What happened to the machine guns? What are we doing in Cuba? Meetings? Who cares about meetings?' But 'The Godfather II' was more substantial and rewatchable. It was more complex. I aspire to do that kind of evolution with this. I don’t mean to compare it to 'The Godfather II' -- I just mean that, well, it’s not exactly what the audience expects, but I think it’ll scratch the itch."
- Showtime did bid on the chance to make the new "AD" eps, but it was Netflix's distribution model -- the chance to release all 15 episodes at the same time -- that proved most appealing creatively to Hurwitz. Says Jason Bateman, "When Mitch started to get his arms around how all the action could happen simultaneously and there was an ability to stop one episode, start another, and have all this crossover and braided plotting, it became clear that he was going to try to accomplish something incredibly ambitious, the kind of escalation that the audience would expect from him.
- Each Bluth family member will get his or her own episode (some will get two-parters) of the Netflix series, which will catch viewers up on what that Bluth did after the Fox series finale and in the years since, and where he or she is now.
- An "AD" movie is still in Hurwitz's grand plan for the franchise, though probably not the one he originally imagined as "Arrested Development the Movie: The Movie," which would have featured Jason Bateman playing Michael and Greg Kinnear playing Jason Bateman.
- David Cross's description of the "AD" revival's writers' room (which includes Cera among its staff) gives us hope that Hurwitz and crew really have created the same rich, rapid-fire funny show we have known and continued to love on DVD and Netflix re-viewings all these years. "You know the murder scene where they go to the psycho-killer's apartment and he's got all this crazy s--t mapped out? That's what it looked like," he tells EW. "Post-it notes and index cards all across the three walls in this big conference room. Yarn stretching from one thing to another and pinned in one place, and then a sharp angular uptick to the Lucille character and down. And then there's a different-colored yarn that intersects and weaves in. It took [Hurwitz] 25 minutes to explain what I was looking at. And I still didn't get everything."
New episodes of "Arrested Development" premiere on Netflix on May 26.
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- Jason Bateman
- Mitch Hurwitz