Showtime/Netflix in Talks for Ten Episode ‘Arrested Development’ Miniseries, Set-up For Big Screen Movie
Posted on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 by Angie Han
Update: EW has confirmed that Showtime and Netflix are in talks with producers about airing the miniseries.
Keep holding out hope, Arrested Development fans. Five years after the series finale, creator Mitchell Hurwitz is still insisting that, yes, a movie based on the brilliant-but-cancelled sitcom is definitely in the works. And what’s more, he’s now hoping to do a nine- or ten-episode lead-in miniseries as well. Intriguing news indeed, but I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath. More details after the jump.
During a New Yorker Festival event Sunday afternoon, the New York Times reports, Hurwitz took the stage with cast members Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jessica Walter for a panel about the show. Predictably, moderator Nancy Franklin inquired at one point about the status of the long-rumored film. Hurwitz’ response: “We’re 80 percent of the way to an answer.”
Hurwitz explained that he and Ron Howard, who narrated and executive produced the TV series, “had been talking about [the movie] for ages and trying to get this going.” On a creative level, Hurwitz said that he has “been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by, there was so much more to the story.” So much more, in fact, that he’s now trying to create a limited TV series of nine or ten episodes to explain what’s happened to each of the characters since the events of the series finale.
“[W]here everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story [of the movie],” said Hurwitz. “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.” From there, it made sense to consider the possibility of the limited-run series. “We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes, with almost one character per episode,” he continued.
Hurwitz offered a possible outline for the first episode, which would revolve around protagonist Michael’s childlike younger brother Buster (Hale). “The latest joke we have is that it’s Cambridge, Mass., and there’s all these scientists in lab coats and they’re waiting for somebody. Buster comes through the door in a white lab coat — ‘Let’s begin’ — and they say, ‘Oh, no, you don’t get to wear the lab coat. We’re experimenting on you.'”
However, there are still a few issues that Hurwitz and his team will need to tackle. The NYT notes that Hurwitz did not name any studios or television networks involved with either project. And Hurwitz did acknowledge one possible difficulty — that the two projects “[require] studios to work together that don’t typically work together, film and TV.”
Bateman put out a targeted date of “next summer” to begin shooting the series and/or movie, referencing “a very specific plan” as to the project’s scheduling. (He later went on to tweet a possible release date of “early ’13″; considering the proposed continuity, the television miniseries would presumably come first.) For his part, Hurwitz seemed slightly less optimistic, saying, “Perhaps the series is in the fall. This isn’t my decision.”
Finally, Hurwitz cleared up some earlier rumors that Cera had been the stumbling block with regard to previous plans to put together an Arrested Development movie. “I kind of was perpetuating a little thing, like, wouldn’t it be funny if Michael Cera was the holdout. Let’s put that out there,” Hurwitz said. “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.”
Considering how long it’s been since the end of the series, as well as the fact that many of the cast members have since moved on to other projects, I’m still somewhat skeptical that we’ll ever see either of these projects actually pan out. But perhaps that’s just the pessimist in me speaking. Here’s hoping that all goes well, and we’ll find out in 2013 that I was dead wrong to ever doubt Hurwitz, Bateman, etc. when the new episodes and movie live up to our wildest dreams.