The return of Arrested Development on Netflix isn’t without a fair share of drama. Not only are members of the cast upset about the recut version of season 4 and payment they may be owed due to its expanded episode count, but there is also the matter of Jeffrey Tambor. The actor is still in the middle of the harassment controversy that led to his removal from Amazon’s Transparent and left many questioning why he was included in Arrested Development season five.
David Cross and other members of the cast have come in his defense in the past, but now it would seem that creator Mitchell Hurwitz is adding a wrinkle into Tambor’s inclusion by saying the actor couldn’t be cut from the show. According to a chat with Entertainment Weekly, Hurwitz and some of the cast addressed the allegations against Tambor:
Hurwitz tells EW that he discussed the accusations with the actor when they surfaced in November, and that “he was as surprised by it as I was.” He acknowledges that Tambor — with whom he’s worked for 20 years and whom he considers a friend — can be “difficult” and “a grump,” but says that “Jeffrey has never evinced that kind of behavior.” Emphatically stating that “we all stand with victims of sexual abuse,” Hurwitz says that he hadn’t received any sexual-misconduct complaints about Tambor from the Arrested cast and crew, and when he checked with Netflix and the show’s studio, 20th Century Fox Television, they hadn’t either.
But that’s not the only reason Hurwitz decided to stick with Tambor for season five. As it turns out, the show had already been filmed during the period when the allegations came out. It created a tough situation for Hurwitz:
“We were done shooting — there was no version of cutting him out of the show, or there would be no show,” he explains. That said, “Am I going to cut Jeffrey out of the show, based on allegations that he disputes, that Amazon hasn’t shared, and that we have never experienced any complaints about? No, of course I am not going to…. I’m going to support Jeffrey.”
Another aspect that came up was Tambor’s outburst against co-star Jessica Walter during the filming of season five. It was revealed by Tambor during his recent feature in The Hollywood Reporter, but Walter declined to comment at the time:
Walter, his onscreen wife, says she is still “privately processing my feelings about the way I was treated by him,” referring to that season 5 outburst. She does note that she “never saw anything from him that crossed the line” in terms of sexual harassment. “I have great empathy for the courage of people who feel they have been harassed in any form speaking out — and sympathy for people who have been unjustly accused,” she says. “It’s a very difficult situation for everyone involved.”
It would seem that any possible season six could see Tambor handled differently, but he is now there in season five and Hurwitz, Netflix, and anybody else is prepared for whatever reaction that brings. Arrested Development season five will premiere on May 29th.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)