News Column

'Arrested Development' Not Dead Yet, Again

May 13, 2013

Rick Bentley

The odd TV saga of "Arrested Development" continues May 26 when Netflix posts 15 new episodes of the long-canceled series. It's the fourth season that FOX opted not to make when it issued a death warrant in 2006 to the much-heralded comedy.

If you don't have "ADD" (Arrested Development Delirium), the comedy follows the messed-up adventures of the Bluth family. It stars Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett and Jeffrey Tambor. Think "Modern Family" meets "Married With Children."

Despite only airing 53 episodes, obsessed fans pushed for the show to move to another network or at least have a big-screen movie. Neither happened and the show appeared headed to the TV graveyard. Then Netflix came along and now the fans will get more episodes.

Executive producer Mitch Hurwitz is slightly amazed the show found new life. "I just kind of always held out hope that this would work out, and it was a very naive hope," he says.

One reason for his concern was that after seven years, cast members had gone their separate ways. Bateman and Cera have been busy with movies and Arnett has bounced through a series of TV shows. Rounding up the old gang was not going to be easy.

"The fact is that the family grew apart and everybody else kind of grew up and got on other shows and had contracts elsewhere. The only way we could get everybody together for what we'll call loosely an anthology or a series was to kind of dedicate each episode to a different character's point of view and that became a really fun, interesting, engaging, creative challenge, because we started finding out that the stories would intersect," Hurwitz says.

And, that's how "Arrested Development" found new life when most wrote it off as just another good TV series that died before its time.

An actor is fortunate if they are part of one large film franchise. Not only does it often mean multiple paychecks, but there is a notoriety that comes from being associated with such endeavors.

I had the chance to interview Simon Pegg in San Francisco on his portrayal of Scotty in "Star Trek Into Darkness." During our talk, I pointed out that his role in the relaunch of the "Star Trek" franchise, coupled with appearing in the long-running British science-fiction series "Doctor Who," makes him the only actor to have appeared in two of the biggest sci-fi franchises on the planet.

Pegg very politely corrects me and points out that Noel Clarke, who is in "Star Trek Into Darkness," also was on "Doctor Who." Clarke was a recurring guest on "Doctor Who" during the seasons when David Tennant was portraying the good Doctor.

Then Pegg smiles and points out that he also was a voice of Dengar in the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

That means Pegg has been part of the three biggest sci-fi franchises on the planet.

"Take that Noel Clarke," sarcastically shouts Pegg.

"Iron Man 3" had a very impressive opening weekend, taking in more than $175 million across the United States. That's a huge number, but it pales compared to the $500 million in foreign ticket sales it had that opening weekend.

There was a time when American movies would open here and then move overseas. That thinking has changed, with big blockbusters opening abroad weeks before moviegoers can see them here.

The foreign release of "Iron Man 3" is taking the overseas connections to a new level. When the movie debuts in China, it will feature a special appearance by China's top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will include bonus footage aimed at the Chinese audience.

"There was a sort of idea for the Chinese version, what it would entail in additional footage that I was asked to look at and approve, and I was busy doing the American version while we were simultaneously obtaining footage for the Chinese version," says "Iron Man 3" director Shane Black.

"So I got a sense of what was going on, and I was asked to look at and had a chance later to approve the footage. So now we've got these two versions."

Most directors would be upset that someone else was changing their movie. Not Black. He's just excited that the new footage will get the movie more attention in China, a country that's rapidly building movie theaters.

There's no reason to buy a ticket to go to China to see the other version. The scenes will be included in the DVD when it's released.


(c)2013 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

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Source: Copyright Fresno Bee, The (CA) 2013

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