Netflix recently premiered the eagerly anticipated fifth season of “Arrested Development” to press and select audience members. Gold Derby was on-hand at the streaming service’s FYSEE space at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood and snagged red carpet interviews with stars Jason Bateman, Tony Hale, David Cross, Alia Shawkat, and Jessica Walter. Scroll down and click on the links at the bottom of this post to be taken to their full interviews.
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz, the series centers on the highly-dysfunctional Bluth family. It originally ran on Fox from 2003-2006 before it was cancelled. But it gained a cult following, so a fourth season was commissioned by Netflix in 2013 when the online outlet was just starting to produce original content. Five years after that revival fans will finally be treated to further (mis)adventures with the Bluth clan.
Bateman stars as Michael Bluth, the levelheaded son constantly at odds with his wacky family. For Bateman, who received two Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Actor (2005 and 2013), stepping back into the role after several years off was easy because “there’s a big part of me that’s him. I try to wedge a big part of me into any character that I play, even if it’s all the way over on the far goal post of who I am because I don’t like to watch a lot of ‘acting.’ I prefer to find the part of me that I can explore.” This year Bateman could become the first person to compete for both Best Comedy Actor and Best Drama Actor in the same year since he’s also eligible for the Netflix crime drama “Ozark,” which he also produces and directs.
Getting the gang back together again can prove difficult due to the large cast’s busy schedules, but it’s integral to the show’s success. “I think the key to working well as an ensemble is respect for each other,” explained Hale, who plays youngest son and perpetual mama’s boy Buster. “I have massive respect for these actors, and we’ve known each other for a very long time.” Hale has won two Emmys as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “Veep” (2013 and 2015) and has competed three more times for that series (2014, 2016, and 2017). Now he could contend in that category for the first time for “Arrested Development” since “Veep’s” final season won’t air until the next Emmy cycle.
Shawkat has grown up with the series as Tobias and Lindsay’s neglected daughter Maeby, shooting the pilot when she was just 14-years-old. “It’s very surreal,” she admits when reflecting on the show’s staying power. “When we did the first three seasons nobody really knew about it.” After its cancellation “it only got bigger, exponentially. So that was the weirdest part, for it to follow all of us in this insane way, and help our careers in a beautiful way, and be appreciated all this time later.”
Little is known about what will happen in season five beyond the three episodes screened at the premiere. But Cross — who plays Tobias Fünke, the ex-husband of Bluth daughter Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) — gave a few details about the status of his character. “He’s desperately wanting to remain part of the Bluth family,” he said. “He’s looking for Lindsay, and looking for acting work, and looking for his purpose in life.” Cross is an Emmy-winning writer for “The Ben Stiller Show” (Best Variety Writing in 1993). He competed twice more in that category for “Mr. Show with Bob and David” (1998 and 1999), and also Best Music and Lyrics for “Mr. Show” (1998).
Walter steals scenes as narcissistic matriarch Lucille Bluth, but she heaped her praise on Hurwitz: “I wish I had a thesaurus here to find all the words that connect with brilliance. He’s just off-the-wall wild.” And she begged him not to delay the next season too long. “I said, if you wait another five years, get that wheelchair. I’ll be so old, I won’t be able to do it.” An Emmy-winner for “Amy Prentiss” (Best Movie/Mini Actress in 1975), Walter contended for Best Comedy Supporting Actress for “Arrested Development” in 2005.
So will “Arrested Development” return to the Emmy race? It certainly has a good track record with the TV academy. It was nominated for Best Comedy Series for all three seasons of its original run (2003-2005), winning that prize in its first season. Additionally, 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.
In addition to Bateman and Walter’s acting noms, the series also contended for Best Comedy Supporting Actor for Jeffrey Tambor as patriarch George Bluth Sr. (2003-2004) 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.
Click on their names below to be taken to their full interview:
Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth
Tony Hale, who plays Buster Bluth
David Cross, who plays Tobias Fünke
Alia Shawkat, who plays Maeby Fünke
Jessica Walter, who plays Lucille Bluth
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.