Monday, February 25, 2013

Arrested Development, Netflix & 14 New Episodes

"It’s really a fantastic one-off which is coming together incredibly, and I think it will be amazing for us, but think of it as a non-repeatable amazing,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, adding that “Arrested Development is a wildly successful tactic, as opposed to fundamental to the strategy."
Entertainment Weekly:
• There are 14 new episodes, and they’re all coming your way at once in May.

• This “anthology,” as creator/executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz refers to it, will have a different structure than the previous version of the show. Each episode will be dedicated to a particular character’s point of view, with other characters weaving in and out of that episode. (Don’t expect lots of big group scenes.) So, over the course of these episodes, viewers will revisit a scene from a previous one but in a different context. “You’ll see a scene again, and from the other perspective, you’ll get all this new information,” said Hurwitz. “So it’s kind of an evolution of the storytelling that was necessary.” He discussed the challenge of working around shifting actor availability, as his thesps were in second position (meaning that their first obligation is to the other shows and movies to which they were already committed). “We couldn’t afford to do the show with what these people are worth now,” he added.

• These episodes should not be considered “season 4” of the show, according to Jason Bateman. Think of them as “simply just the first act of what we hope to continue and complete in a movie, which would be Act 2 and 3,” he said. “And eventually a theme park,” quipped Will Arnett.

• Asked if there were fears about tarnishing the show’s sterling legacy, Hurwitz cracked: “I could vomit right this moment.”

• Hurwitz and the cast tipped their hats to the passion of the fans (and support of the critics), noting that when the writers first started fleshing out ideas for the the movie, they had to toss out some good ideas because they’d already been covered in fan fiction. (New saying: Fan fiction did it!)

• Hurwitz’s goal with the new version of the show was to catch fans off-guard. “The spirit of this was to surprise fans with something that they didn’t see coming,” he said. “There was so much talk about the movie that we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to still do the movie but to give everybody this thing they didn’t see coming.” Even the initial 10-episode announcement was intentionally misleading, according to Hurwitz: “The idea was, ‘Let’s say there’s 10, and then the fans will be so happy when there’s even more.’”

Michael Cera has been pulling double duty by working as a writer on the show as well, noting that he had “some wild ideas that didn’t make it.” Hurwitz praised Cera, explaining that he wanted to help him learn a new craft, but “suddenly we were very dependent on Michael Cera being in the writers’ room. He completely understood this complex story, he added to it, he pitched new characters. It became clear that ‘Wow, this is like his first language.’”

• Hurwitz revealed that even though it will no longer be subject to broadcast network restrictions, the show still will feature its trademark bleeps. Also, one of our main characters will wind up naked.

• Re-runs of the show have been some of the most-watched episodes on Netflix's instant stream, pushing the decision to produce new content for such die-hard fans. Netflix outbid Showtime for the rights to the new season.

• Other guest stars include Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Isla Fischer, Terry Crews, Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, and of course Carl Weathers and Liza Minnelli.

• (Yes, a film is still in the works. No, there isn’t a deal in place yet.)

More information:
» Arrested Development art exhibit in L.A.

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