The Bluths are back!
“Arrested Development” will return with the follow-up to its third season (which originally aired on 2006 on FOX) on Netflix this spring, and for Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth, filming his first scene back was a pressure-filled moment.
“I just remember trying to be as good as I could as quickly as I could because there is so much to say and do,” Jason told AccessHollywood.com, after the Netflix panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Session 2013 in Pasadena, Calif., about shooting his “AD” return, with castmate Jeffrey Tambor (Bluth family patriarch George Sr.). “We were shooting 15 pages a day, at times. On a movie, you shoot two.”
Jason said there was an added sense of importance and excitement in those first moments of filming again, not just because the cast and crew had 14 episodes to shoot (four more episodes than they originally announced), but because of everything the show meant to the fans and to Jason, himself.
“Yeah, because this is obviously the most beneficial thing I’ve ever done in my career, for my career, the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything in my career, the people I love the most in my career, so all of those things, it was amazing to be able to be with all of them again,” Jason said.
“But then I had to remind myself that there was a job to do and… there are a bunch of people who appreciate the show as much as I do — the fans — and so I wanted to make sure that it didn’t suck, and that I [wasn’t] just out there being selfish and being this close to Jeffrey and having fun that day,” he added. “I wanted to do a good job playing the character too.”
Portia de Rossi, who plays Lindsay Bluth Funke, recalled that her first scene back was actually with a newcomer to the “Arrested Development” fold.
“My first scene was with Chris Diamantopoulos, who has quite a big role in my episode,” Portia told Access after the panel.
The actress said it was “overwhelming” when she finally did reunite with her fellow Bluths — in a family scene.
“I think it was all of us together actually, in that scene where we’re all in the penthouse together, and it was overwhelming,” she told Access. “It was so fantastic because everyone looked exactly the same, including the kids. I don’t know how that happened.
“But it wasn’t just the way that everyone looked,” Portia said of the cast’s enduring closeness. “We made the same jokes, we had the same relationship to each other and it felt like one of those moments in time, where you kind of question whether time exists because it just felt like we were coming back to work a few months after we ended. It was very strange.”
And the camaraderie made filming the series “easy.”
“It was so easy and I mean, to hear everybody in character again and the first rehearsal again of the scene, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s it, that’s what we do,” she added.
The cast avoided discussing plot details of the next installment in the series during the TCA session (Jason said during the panel it’s not really a Season 4). And, Executive Producer Mitch Hurwitz revealed during the show’s panel that some of the fan fiction created by fans of the show after the show went off the air, actually unknowingly scooped some of the ideas the writers had to bring the show back.
It was revealed, however, that the episodes are shot from different perspectives, so fans will get to see, for example, Portia’s Lindsay character talking with her mother and thinking her mother, Lucille (Jessica Walter) is being sarcastic, only to find in a later episode, looked at from Lucille’s perspective, that the mom meant something entirely different.
As for the “Arrested Development” movie that has been discussed, there were no new details, but the cast was hopeful it will get made.
“Arrested Development” drops on Netflix this spring.
-- Jolie Lash