When the New Yorker’s Twitter account announced that the cast of Arrested Development would be reuniting for 9 to 10 new episodes followed by a movie, I thought it was either the movie blogging equivalent of “MAN LANDS ON MOON” or the most epic troll job in New Yorker history†. After all the times they’ve already convinced us to kick the football, I’m still not sure I believe it, but all signs point to it being real. The short version is that they’re planning nine to ten “where are they now”-style episodes, with Showtime and Netflix negotiating to air them next fall, as a precursor to a film (which still doesn’t have studio backing, as of yet).
Here’s the long version, from Entertainment Weekly:
EW has confirmed that the producers of Arrested Development is in talks [sic] with Showtime and Netflix about airing a limited number of original episodes that will update fans on the Bluth clan.
Hurwitz told attendees at the New Yorker Festival Sunday in New York that he wanted to shoot nine to 10 episodes that would air next fall and catch audiences up on the characters’ lives since the series ended in 2006 on Fox. The episodes would be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, which was responsible for the original single camera series.
Hurwitz’ hope is that the limited series would serve as a walk-up to his long-gestating movie. “I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by there was so much more to the story,” he said at the festival, which was also attended by Development stars Bateman, De Rossi, and Cera, as well as David Cross, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, and Alia Shawkat. Ron Howard, one of the comedy’s producers, even participated via speakerphone. “In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So, in working on the screenplay I found that even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together. And that kinda gave birth to this thing we’ve not been pursuing for a while and we’re kinda going public with it a little bit. We’re trying to do kind of limited run series into the movie.”
Hurwitz then unveiled his very unconventional plan. “We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes with almost one character per episode, where like the first episode will just be Buster. We’re kinda picturing it like, um, well the latest joke we have is that, you know, it’s Cambridge, Massachusetts and there’s all these scientists in lab coats and they’re waiting for somebody and Buster comes through the door wearing a lab quote and says `let’s begin,’ and they say, `you don’t get to wear the lab coat, we’re experimenting on you. [garbled] And then we go through his life and we meet the people in his life and maybe he goes to see his therapist who he’s getting a good rate on because it’s Tobias and he’s lost his license. We can do cross overs and things like that. But it’s an unusual style of show I think and we get him to a certain point of peril in his life and then maybe we jump over to like Maeby and she’s living with Cornel West … We’ll do this kind of thing that builds the peril in their lives until they all come together, really, in the first scene of the movie. It requires, and Ron [Howard] has been working on this too, it just requires studios to work together, they don’t normal work together in film and TV. It’s a really ambitious project but it’s also a very simple project in a way because it kind of gives the fans a level of detail for `granularity,’ which is a big word on the East Coast.”
“I really have to say, we’ve talked about this, we’re all game, we hated being coy, we’ve been trying to put together this more ambitious idea and I think we’re very close, the script is halfway done and we have to get the film companies on board,” Hurwitz continued. “They’ve always been great to us but you know times are tough and money is tight but I’m very hopeful , there is business left to be done but creatively we have a very specific plan of how it would come out and what we would do and when we would shoot it. Our hope is that, perhaps the series is in the fall.”
If a movie studio can’t get it together to fund an Arrested Development movie, they really haven’t been reading the internet for the last five years. If the same companies that spent $200 million on Battleship don’t fund an Arrested Development movie, the Occupy Wall Street protests are going to look like preschool hunger strike by comparison. Nothing riles up the internet like Arrested Development (it’s just behind Betty White and Star Wars mash-ups).
I don’t really have a joke for this story, except to say that David Cross looks like a gay French vampire in that outfit. Michael Cera looks like a guy going to a New Yorker festival.
[picture via Getty Images]
†Or at least, the most epic troll job since they took that Jonathan Lethem quote about the death of post-transcendentalism out of context to make it sound like he wasn’t being totally ironic. Ha, nice try, brohams.