The Netflix Original Series Arrested Development Press Conference went ahead at Sheraton Universal on May 4. The cast talked about how great it’s been to reunite with each other, the possibility of a movie still being made, what it was like to return to these roles after so many years, how often fans throw quotes at them when they’re out, how complicated the episodes were to shoot, and just how many scenes the Bluth family is in together.
After the Cancellation of the Original Series
How the cast members felt after the original three seasons were cancelled.
Jason Bateman: I don’t think any of us felt any bitterness or huge frustration that the show had gone away. For the most part, the emotion around the set, when it went down, was that we were upset, but we felt pretty grateful that we got that far. There was blood in the water, after the first 13 episodes. That we had been so embraced by the media, as well as the vocal minority that cheered us on, and the awards or nominations, and now with this, it’s just great. Netflix gave us all a chance to have a reunion party and hang out with one another and do Mitch’s work. It’s all been gravy for us, from the start.
David Cross: I don’t take the same meds as Jason. I was a little pissed that it was cancelled, unceremoniously. 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.
Getting Back into Character
What was it like to get back into these roles, and what had you missed about your character?
Portia de Rossi: I loved Lindsay. I loved playing her because she was so earnest. Even though she was vapid and self-centered, she actually thought that she was a good person and was doing good things. I liked that disconnect for a character. It’s always fun to play the innocent, no matter what you’re doing. If you feel like you’re doing the right thing, you can get away with a lot comedically. I had definitely missed not having a conscience.
Jessica Walter: Well, the clothes. And I just missed the juiciness of the writing. The writing was so character specific, for all of us. They don’t have Arrested Development writer trees out there. So, to come back to this writing was very exciting.
The Bluths in Season Four
How are things going for the Bluth Family?
Jessica Walter: "The desperation, I would say, is magnified, in the 15 episodes we just did."
Jason Bateman: "It's actually gone in the opposite direction, If we're ever fully rehabilitated, there will be no show, so yeah, we're deeply banged up. The seven years have not been kind to us. You see everybody's flaws. Overall, the whole tone is a lot darker. It's not as homogenized as you need to make things on broadcast."
How to Watch 'Season 4'
The episodes are numbered in a specific order, but viewers can switch them around for a different, and increasingly rewarding experience.
David Cross: "I think it is important, just based on watching the episodes the other night, to watch episodes one and two first, because of the story, Because of the whole Cinco de Cuatro, and it catches people up. But after that, go nuts."
Jason Bateman: "Pretty shortly after you start watching, you'll realize, 'I can complete that scene, if I re-watch the second half of that last episode,' You'll start to make your own order as you're interested in certain stories, or try to figure out what the whole thing is going to be about."
Release of the New Episodes
Because all 15 episodes of the new series will be available at the same time, story lines overlap and are more interchangeable than when episodes were broadcast on a weekly basis.
Jason Bateman: "Netflix affords Mitchell Hurwitz the opportunity to have these stories go out over 15 different episodes that are so intertwined. The same scene will repeat, from different angles, in multiple episodes."
David Cross: "If you're watching it, especially in chronological order, I think as you get to episode three, episode four, you're going to realize how you're supposed to start watching it, as opposed to just being a passive viewer. Not to give too much away, but it's taking those moments you had as a fan of 'Arrested,' especially when you watch it on DVD, and go, 'Oh, wait, that's a reference to that thing three shows earlier.' But, quintuple that."
How was working with the Ostrich
How was working and filming with the Vultures and Ostrich's in Season Four
Jason Bateman: The ostrich was fake, so I got nowhere near him. The vulture was real, and he smelled surprisingly good, though we shot early in the day, so he probably had just showered. They’re not friendly looking creatures.
Portia de Rossi: I worked with an ostrich. I did a lot of work with an ostrich, and it was terrifying. It’s big. They’re not very friendly, although they have nice eyelashes and big eyes.
It's Not Like the Old Seasons
Despite the similarity of its intricacies, it's important to not mistake the new series for the old one, even superficially.
Portia de Rossi: "Are we calling this a season? Just to manage expectations, if we call it a season, the implication is that this is going to feel like the other seasons,"
Jason Bateman: "It's not."
Possibility of a Movie
Is there still possibility of a Movie and Who in the cast was the last to believe Netflix when they said that they would actually do this
Portia de Rossi: Well, I hope that there is still a possibility of a movie. I think we all would love to be a part of this crazy family for as long as we can be, in any format that Mitch thinks is right for the show. I think we’re all on board for that. It was a little boy who cried wolf for a while, I must admit. Until business affairs called, that’s when I knew that we actually were to do it. There was a lot of, “Oh, it’s going to happen in this month. Here’s a script. Here’s an idea.” But, until business affairs called, I was a little skeptical. Having said that, I always knew that all of us would be on board, and all of us would be willing to do whatever Mitch wanted us to do, as part of the show.
Jessica Walter: I never believe it until wardrobe calls. You could have contracts signed or whatever, but you know they’re putting down money when they go out and buy clothes.
- → See 20 pictures from 2013 Netflix Press Conference at Images from 2013 Netflix Press Conference.
What inspiration, if any, did you take from the real Orange County, for this?
"It’s wild! Those are some strange folks. The oddness of that landscape just trickles down. It’s just in the blood of the show."Michael Cera
"I just see Orange County as a big shopping mall full of blonde women who shop a lot."Portia de Rossi
"There are upper-middle class skate punks, bitching about stuff. They’re just bitching because they’re 15 and 16 years old, and that’s what you do when you’re 15 and 16. But, they’re so privileged. They just skate around that big outdoor mall with all this money, and their lives suck."David Cross
What do you feel Arrested Development is a commentary on?
"Basically, it just says that we’re all idiots. Nobody’s perfect, and this is just an exaggerated version of that, with a comedic style and tone that you either love or you hate. I think that’s one of its strengths. It’s very specific. It’s nice that there are enough people out there that like what we do because it gives us a chance to do more for them, and more for us. I think we all like the show and want to watch it, as fans."Jason Bateman
"I also think that we’re greedy, as a culture, as well. The show highlights how we, as a society, have become self-obsessed and greedy. It seems to be tipping off its axis, a little bit. A family with this housing development – the McMansions – plays to our consumerism, as a culture."Portia de Rossi
" There is something that, as a viewer, you tend to forget about, which is that this family is shot in a documentary style. We’re so used to it, but there is a connotation that goes with that when we’re shooting, and now even more so. Reality TV now doesn’t feel reality TV when it started. The line between reality and fiction is blurred. So many of these people are phony or shallow, in their own right. If you’ve ever watched any of The Real Housewives, or those types of shows, they’re all performing. Even though they’re real people, they’re performing. With Arrested Development, there are cameras there. We even did in an episode where you see a boom, to remind you that this is documentary style. Even more so in 2013, that’s half of our TV. We just forget what’s real, and what’s performing for a camera."David Cross
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