Gold Derby was on-hand recently at Netflix’s FYSEE space at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood for the premiere of “Arrested Development” season five, which was followed by a Q&A with creator Mitchell Hurwitz and stars Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, David Cross, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter. Listen to the entire 19-minute Q&A above.
The Emmy winning series about the highly dysfunctional Bluth family originally aired on Fox from 2003-2006 before it was cancelled. But it developed a passionate fan base, so a fourth season was commissioned by Netflix in 2013 as the online outlet was starting to produce original content. Now five years later fans will finally be treated to further (mis)adventures with the Bluth clan.
“I am stunned by the performances,” said Hurwitz, who also moderated the Q&A. “This year I really feel that it was more about the actors.” But considering the amount of time that has passed between seasons, how difficult was it for them to jump back into these roles and this family dynamic?
“I’ll go on IMDb to refresh my memory of who all these folks are, what they’ve done, and why I should care,” joked Cross, who plays Tobias Fünke, a wannabe actor and ex-husband of spoiled Bluth daughter Lindsay (de Rossi).
For Bateman, who received two Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Actor (2005 and 2013) for playing levelheaded son Michael, it was easy because “I don’t like to sweat a lot when I’m acting, so I try to play characters that are very close to me.” Coming back to “Arrested Development” was “like jumping on a bike” for him because “we just love doing this together, and it is so simple.”
De Rossi, on the other hand, readily admitted that “it actually was kind of difficult for me to find Lindsay again,” partly because scheduling forced her to film a lot of her scenes “by myself with a green screen.” But Hurwitz’s writing helped her get back in the groove “because it’s so specific to all of us, and so easy because it just is your character.”
So will “Arrested Development” return to the Emmy race? It has a good track record. It was nominated for Best Comedy Series for all three seasons of its original run (2003-2005), winning that prize in its first season. Also, Hurwitz took home writing awards in seasons one and two, while Anthony and Joe Russo (who went on to direct “Avengers: Infinity War“) won for helming the pilot.
The series also contended for Best Comedy Supporting Actress for Walter as narcissistic matriarch Lucille Bluth (2005), and Best Comedy Supporting Actor for Jeffrey Tambor as patriarch George Bluth Sr. (2004-2005) and for Will Arnett as Michael’s older brother Gob (2006). The show was also popular at the SAG Awards, snagging nominations for its ensemble cast in 2005, 2006, and 2014, as well as an individual bid for Bateman in 2014.
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