Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz participated in a reddit AMA (ask me anything) this afternoon. Inevitably, the subject of the long-rumored Arrested Development movie came up.
First, before we look at what he had to say about that, let's recall a recent interview Hurwitz recently did with TV Guide. Discussing the current season (season 4), he said, “There’s a lot in this show that not only refers to later episodes but that also refer to a future story. A lot of what we were doing was setting up a future for this world."
When asked if that means another batch of episodes is to come, Hurwitz said, “It was important to me that I had a story behind this one that we built to. Whether that ever becomes a feature or a puppet show or a graphic novel or a needlepoint pattern, I’m not sure."
The point is, he's got some things in mind for where to take the story next, and that could be more show, a movie, or who knows? Netflix has recently indicated that it would like to do more, so it could very well be that we'll see Arrested Development Season 5 appear on Netflix similar to the latest season.
Now, onto that reddit AMA. Hurwitz was asked: "Do you think that producing the new season as a prequel to the movie took away from its potential?" and "What can you tell us about the movie?"
His responses were as follows:
I'm going to try to interpret that question because it could mean a couple things. One version of that question is "Do I think it will hurt the chances that the movie will get made" - and I would say that I'm more interested in telling the ongoing saga of this family than working out a particular strategy for how to do it. I kind of feel like the form will emerge in a way that I wouldn't have anticipated - like Netflix a few years ago - so it's possible that a film studio says "There's a lot of AD out there. Do we want to invest in more" or it's possible that a film studio says "Wow, we had no idea there was this kind of a following." And I think the latter scenario is possible. Just because I didn't think there was that kind of a following! But if your question is "Does the story we've told detract from a movie", I would say it definitely doesn't, or wasn't intended to - it was intended to set up (among other things) a murder-mystery and a family that really now has to come together to save one of their own at a moment when their tensions are the highest.
Well what we're calling the movie is just the ongoing story - so at the moment, there is nothing really up with it, except that I am gathering up ammunition to try to get the next chapter made.
It's clear that Hurwitz wants to continue to create more Arrested, regardless of what form it takes. Reviews of the current season have been mixed, but there is surely a big enough audience craving more Bluth family fun. Let's not forget about this show's history of turmoil, and its incredible journey back into the living room. As with season 4, no doubt getting the cast together will be the biggest challenge. A movie could be easier to pull off, but they made it work this time, so another season doesn't seem out of the question.
Hurwitz also had this to say about the Netflix model:
...And one of the burdens that network television implicitly has - they're not allowed to just respect the cleverest in their audience, they have to please everyone. And I think the Netflix model makes it a little more like publishing - there are different books for different people, and still within that world there are top 10 books that are blockbusters, and then there's fiction that's not for everybody.
Netflix was amazing. I've become very close to the people over there, and they are all really funny, so if they did have suggestions, they were generally pretty funny, great ones - particularly Ted Sarandos, who runs content for them. And they loved the ambition of the show, and encouraged it.
Update: He just answered another question about a fifth season, in which he said:
For the 5th season, it would DEFINITELY be about the family all together. That was always the design. The idea was originally to have them even together LESS for Season 4 - it really was going to be basically 9 stories (like the Salinger collection) that had nothing to do with one another, and just showed everybody's life, so that everybody's life could get to a point of peril, and then the family could truly have no choice but to get back together for the next iteration.
Let me put it back to you- which would YOU prefer? Movie or Season?
Update 2: He just opened up a bit more about where the story is going next:
It will definitely continue where we left off - and also, thank you for that because I think that episode is unlike the others in that it really shows a side of Lindsay we haven't seen before, and it really takes the idea of her superficiality from being a joke to something she really struggles with, and in many ways I feel like it's the most honest telling of the life of this family. But yes, we will definitely pick her up - she's left running as a Republican for office, so she is going to play out some ancient high school agendas.
For Michael and George Michael - I think one of the things that is fun to do and also sometimes generates great material (and sometimes doesn't) is to "paint yourself into a corner" when you're writing or performing or doing anything creative. And it reminds me of cutting off Buster's hand. It's like, what do you do now? And the answer is - a LOT MORE than you'd do without it. So I wanted to get to an honest point in their relationship that was very uncomfortable, so that there wouldn't be a pat solution, even for me.
Update 3: And a bit more (regarding Lucille Two falling down the stairs):
"That's one of the abiding mysteries that Film Studios (or Netflix) will have to find valuable enough to discover to fund more of the show. And what's YOUR theory? I'm truly curious."