WonderCon 2009: Mitch Hurwitz discusses the 'Arrested Development' movie
The "Arrested Development" movie is a unique creature seemingly fueled by Internet rumors and boundless fan-based enthusiasm. Every once in a while, something supposedly tangible breaks ("Fox Searchlight has signed on!" "Michael Cera's the lone hold-out!" "Michael Cera has committed!") and that just spawns more Internet rumors and more fan enthusiasm.
In San Francisco for WonderCon, chatting with Hurwitz about his new FOX animated comedy "Sit Down, Shut Up," I tried getting some tangible information about that mythical "Arrested Development" film.
"The fans are going crazy about that," added Will Arnett, one of the vocal stars of "Sit Down, Shut Up" and one of the presumptive stars of an "Arrested Development" flick.
Hurwitz continued, steering further and further from seriousness, "Everywhere we go, it's like, 'What about the movie? What about the movie?'"
[More after the break...]
"I think we're very close to being cool with it, to going forward. We've been focusing on other things right now, but I think as many people are onboard as are ever going to get onboard and so we're going to jump in to do it," he finally said.
Is there actually a story?
"What, do you have a pitch?"
Hurwitz continued, "I've had to change it a few times. I had to change it because the economy changed and that actually changed a little bit, like 'Hmmm... the story's not as funny anymore.' Then there were some complications with Michael Cera and that changed what I had planned. So I'm kinda now reworking it a little bit again. They're all fun and they're all funny. We always followed what was really happening with our cast and what was happening in the world, so the challenge continues."
Given how integral he's always been to perpetuating buzz about the film, I've always wondered if the "Arrested Development" movie may actually be an elaborate prank that Hurwitz and the cast are playing on Jeffrey Tambor, an issue I addressed directly with Hurwitz.
Hurwitz chucked, "If it were, I would probably say something like, 'Of course not!' How was that? And, by the way, of course not."
Later, with Henry Winkler, another "Sit Down, Shut Up" and "Arrested Development" I asked if he figured Barry Zuckerkorn would have a role in said imaginary movie, Winkler called Hurwitz back over.
"Mitch, this gentleman has a question for you," Winkler said, sliding a $20 out of his wallet and pushing it toward Hurwitz.
Hurwitz responded, "Without any of the details, without revealing who's in and who's not, do you think he looks like he could be George Michael?"
He then added, a bit more seriously, "Of course. There's no 'Arrested' movie without Barry Zuckerkorn. Are you kidding me?"
Winkler, a writer in his own right, had some ideas on what the unscrupulous Zuckerkorn has been up to.
"Barry now works for the National Government and he's in charge of the reclaiming of New Orleans and he's doing really well," he suggested.
Hurwitz liked the idea, adding, "You want New Orleans? I'll get you some. We're reclaiming the whole thing... It's like the Louisiana sales, not the Louisiana purchase."
Perhaps that's how the movie will get written?
Hurwitz: "We're very pleased to announce..."
Winkler: "Don't joke about this."
Hurwitz: "Oh, nevermind."
Arnett: "We are dangerously close to confirming that we have read the rumors on the Internet."
Offering no hints, what with the absence of hints he could give, Hurwitz said, "We're determined to do this. It was a great joy and privileged, all kidding aside, to be able to do a show that took risks and with such a wonderful cast and wonderful writers. For us, it's irresistible, I think."
He added, "When we did the show, one of the things that made it work was that we didn't hold ourselves up to any standard. We had a lot of really positive critical recommendations, but we even kind of ignored those and did what was funny and remained the underdog. It was very clear early on that we weren't going to be a big hit, so it really was a labor of love."
"Now, suddenly, there is a bar to hit."
"The Arrested Development Movie" will premiere someday.
Until that day comes, "Sit Down, Shut Up" will premiere on Sunday, April 19 on FOX.