'Arrested Development' Cast Dishes On Behind-The-Scenes Details From The New Season
Actors Jason Bateman, Alia Shawkat and David Cross attend the "Arrested Development" press conference at Sheraton Universal on May 4 (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Netflix)
Only a week remains until Netflix releases all 15 new episodes of "Arrested Development," and the coming days are sure to be filled with "Final Countdown" references, along with banana stand and stair car sightings.
As we mentioned in an earlier feature, LAist attended the "Arrested Development" press conference on May 4, and it was sometimes hard to hear the actors' answers over the laughter in the room—which is par for the course when this group gets together. In speaking with someone who was on set last fall, we learned that many of the lines were so hilarious that even the background actors had a hard time suppressing their laughter during rehearsals.
This is the second feature on the press conference, which featured Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth), Michael Cera (George-Michael Bluth), David Cross (Tobias Fünke), Portia de Rossi (Lindsay Bluth Fünke), Alia Shawkat (Maeby Fünke) and Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth).
Actors David Cross, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman and Portia de Rossi attend the "Arrested Development" press conference at the Sheraton Universal on May 4. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Netflix)
When asked if the actors felt any sense of vindication now that the show is coming back after cancellation, Cross said, "I don't know if vindication is the word I'd use, but it's certainly satisfying to know that all of us—as well as all the fans—were right. This should continue. It should have continued."
"Arrested Development" is known for its brilliant writing, and fans often quote the series' most popular lines to the actors who uttered them. When it comes to the line Cross hears most, "It's almost 95 percent 'blue yourself' or some variation on that." And a number of kids screamed "Marry me!" during Shawkat's high school graduation.
Real and Surreal
After so many years of uncertainty, each of the cast members recalled different moments when it felt like the new season was really, truly happening. Walter said it was surreal when the cast sat down in the penthouse, "which was recreated to the nails in the wall. We were so excited; it took 30 minutes to calm down. And once we heard the voices and saw the faces that looked the same—except for the kids, who now are adults—that's when I knew we were really back."
Cross mentioned that they were fortunate enough to have many of the same crew members from the original series, "so that also lent itself to how surreal and cool it was for all of us to be looking at each other in our outfits and getting to do this after seven years. That's when it really felt real real."
Will Arnett in a scene (an illusion, perhaps?) from Netflix's "Arrested Development." (Photo by Mike Yarish for Netflix)
Given the fact that they would often shoot multiple interrelated episodes in one day, Bateman said he was glad that series creator Mitchell Hurwitz was on set to explain certain aspects of each scene, because in some cases, the preceding scene didn't yet exist.
Cera, who also worked as a writer on this season, gave an example of how later episodes will reveal new details about preceding ones. In one scene that took place in a computer lab, "different sections of this scene would be appearing in different episodes, so you'd have to deliver a line that made sense in multiple, different contexts that actually would play against each other…and you'd have to deliver it in a way that actually tries to work for all three of those."
Bateman was amazed with the way Hurwitz had written these episodes, saying, "It's one thing to act that, but imagine thinking that up!"
[One update since our first press conference feature: Although the cast had previously said that the episodes could be watched in any order, on May 15, Hurwitz tweeted, "You gotta watch them in order. Turns out I was not successful in creating a form where the setup follows the punch line."]
In looking back to the early seasons, one of Bateman's favorite memories was the very first scene they shot, where Jeffrey Tambor (as George Bluth) was accepting an award.
Bateman said, "To watch him play his character was so informative to me about what the tone of the show was going to be, because, as you know, watching him play this character now, there's no winking. It's deadly serious. And that was a whole different kind of comedy for me—at least—to play."
For British Eyes Only
In speaking about his early years and whether his English mother introduced him to British comedy and the Brits' dry sense of humor, Bateman said, "Yeah, very much so. There was a lot of 'Monty Python' around the house and there was some 'Benny Hill,' although that's a little bit…" (At which point Cross chimed in with, "Talk about dry comedy!")
Bateman said that in addition to the silly stuff, he enjoyed the dry, sarcastic humor, "the very underplayed stuff that you've gotta really lean in to recognize whether it's funny or not…"
Buster and Army (Photo by Mike Yarish for Netflix)
"We're All Idiots"
When asked to describe what the show is a commentary on, or what it all means, Bateman said, "Just generally, we're all idiots. Nobody's perfect and this is just sort of an exaggerated version of that—told in a comedic style and tone that you either love or you hate. And I think that's one of its strengths…it's very specific and it makes a choice."
Older and Wiser?
Although one might assume the characters have gotten wiser with age, De Rossi said, "No, we don't really grow that much…right?" Bateman concurred, "Things have actually gone the opposite direction. If we're ever fully rehabilitated, there would be no show…so yeah, we're deeply banged up. The seven years off have not been kind to any of us and the fun is seeing everybody's flaws."
Netflix will release the 15 new "Arrested Development" episodes on May 26. In the meantime, check out these teasers in case you missed them:
'Arrested Development' Cast Reveals New Details About Their Forthcoming Netflix Season
Photos Of The 'Arrested Development' Season 4 Press Conference In L.A.
Photos Of The 'Arrested Development' Season 4 Premiere In L.A.
You're Gonna Get Some Hop-Ons: "Arrested Development" Filming In Downtown Culver City
Photos: Segway-Riding Michael Cera Woos A Girl In New "Arrested Development" Pics