Plus: The big note he got from Fox
“Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz knew there were high expectations for the show’s return – in part because it died young.
The show, which Fox canceled after three seasons, benefitted from fans wanting more, Hurwitz said Monday.
“No one ever says, ‘You know who wasn’t a very good actor? James Dean,'” he said.
In a New York Television Festival panel, Hurwitz also said he’s considering doing the long-awaited “Arrested Development” movie for Netflix, which aired the show’s fourth season. And he said he once considered Jeremy Piven for the Michael Bluth role, which eventually went to Jason Bateman.
Hurwitz said he has raised the possibility of an “Arrested” movie with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who welcomed the idea. He said the original idea for the Netflix season of the show was to set the stage for a movie that would be released in theaters, but he soon realized he wanted to stay with Netflix for the movie, then make another season to run on the streaming site.
“I love the idea of doing let’s-call-it-a-movie on Netflix that leads into another season on Netflix,” he told TheWrap after the panel. “I would love it. I would love the creative challenge of it and I love that it could be a good strategy of keeping the Bluth family alive while we’re trying to put together another season.”
There’s a big caveat, he said: 20th Century Fox owns the show, and what ultimately happens is up to the company.
Hurwitz joked during the panel that he was worried Piven would eventually punch him if he cast him. He ultimately went with Bateman because of a great audition in which the actor played Bluth like he eventually did on the show.
Eventually Hurwitz paid homage to Piven with a joke in Season 4.
Moderator John Sellers, a Vulture senior editor, asked Hurwitz if he had an “oh s—” moment when he had the chance to bring the show back on Netflix.
“I have those every second of every day,” Hurwitz said. But he eventually realized, “You have to commit to something. Life is choice and choice is loss.”
“I had to remind myself that it was great joy, and even when we did it, we were both making fans and upsetting fans,” Hurwitz said. He finally came around to thinking, “Oh f— it, let’s not be precious about it. … You don’t wait for the perfect creative opportunity.”
He also said he hoped the movie could be made in several weeks, since several actors, including Tony Hale, are under contract with other shows. He jokingly checked with his agent, sitting in the audience, before talking about movie plans.
“I don’t want to be presumptuous,” he said.
Hurwitz said he thought he got a reputation for being difficult when “Arrested” was on Fox because he rarely listened to notes from network executives. So when he and “Arrested” star Will Arnett worked together on Fox’s “Running Wilde,” he decided to do whatever Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said.
At one point, Hurwitz said, he received a note from an executive: If you think something is fresh or clever, don’t do it. He said the executive would remain nameless.
“And I said, ‘Kevin….” he joked.
Michael Cera joined the show’s writers’ room for its Netflix season. Hurwitz said he thought it would be a learning opportunity for the young actor, but that he quickly came to rely on Cera for jokes.
He said Cera turned out to be “an old soul.”
“I don’t think I can extrapolate that to what it’s like working with Millennials,” he said of Cera. “Because he doesn’t even have a phone.”
Sellers asked if Hurwitz would ever work for a broadcast network again after doing a season on Netflix.
“Well, first of all, is there anybody from a network here?” he said.
There wasn’t, so Hurwitz answered with a deadpan: “Absolutely not.”