The “Arrested Development” movie is finally happening. No, seriously. After years of rumors, denials, hedging, backtracking and wishful thinking, series co-creator and executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz confirmed over the weekend that not only are the seriously, hilariously, unapologetically dysfunctional Bluth clan headed to the multiplex, but they will get tuned up for their movie debut by making a short trip back to TV.
Speaking on Sunday at the New Yorker Festival, Hurwitz broke the news, with “Development” actor Jason Bateman confirming it a few hours later on his Twitter feed. “It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!”
According to The New York Times, when asked by moderator Nancy Franklin to give an update on the long-rumored film, Hurwitz confessed, “We’re 80 percent of the way to an answer.” He explained that director/producer Ron Howard, who also narrated the show, “had been talking about this for ages and trying to get this going. … We don’t completely own the property, there are business people involved and studios and that kind of thing. Just creatively, 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. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So in working on the screenplay, I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that back story, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together.”
Hurwitz was speaking on a panel that gathered the beloved cult show’s cast together for a “Bluth Family Reunion.” He said that the plan is to do a limited run (nine or 10 episodes) of the series on TV and then segue into the movie in order to get the hype machine cranked up again, with each episode focusing on one character’s backstory to bring us back to the present. Among the castmembers on hand were Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and Alia Shawkat, as well as call-in guest Howard .
Given the show’s sly, twisty inside-joke humor and legendarily wacky tangents, there was, of course, some skepticism about whether Hurwitz’s announcement was possibly part of some cosmic joke. But he later confirmed that he was halfway done with a screenplay, though he did not make any announcement about which studio or network would be handling the re-boot.
Hurwitz also cleared up a long-running misconception about why the movie has not come to pass: the reluctance (don’t need to repeat ’alleged’) of “Scott Pilgrim” actor Cera, who was allegedly refusing to play ball. The show’s creator explained that the rumor that Cera was stonewalling the project was an inside joke gone wrong.
“I kind of was perpetuating a little thing, like, wouldn’t it be funny if Michael Cera was the holdout,” he said. “Let’s put that out there. And Michael had that Andy Kaufman thing. And then it really turned ugly, quickly. So I really just have to say, for those of you that have been following this saga, Michael’s always been great.”