Just two days before
"It's crazy!" Cross says. "It's nuts!"
It's "Arrested Development" reborn, not as a feature film, as had been long rumored and planned, but as a new batch of 15 interconnected episodes that will drop simultaneously May 26 on
"It keeps getting branded as Season 4, and it's not that," says
Hurwitz (who was hunkered down, editing and abstaining from interviews at press time) originally planned a nine-episode Netflix run, with one installment devoted to each character. Then it became a 10-episode run. Then 14. And finally 15, with six characters receiving two episodes, including Cross, a fan favorite for his turn as the "never nude" Tobias, discredited shrink, aspiring actor and husband to spoiled Bluth daughter Lindsay (
The elaborate structure came from necessity. Syncing the schedules of nine busy actors for a more traditional storytelling format would have been nearly impossible. And undesirable. It freed Hurwitz to fashion what Cross calls the "most ambitious Venn diagram ever created," tracking characters through past and present, telling the same story from different points of view and creating a kind of choose-your-own-adventure framework that will allow (force?) Netflix subscribers to toggle between episodes to fully appreciate the dense doings.
The cast members themselves still don't fully understand what they shot, and any actors' gathering — be it the splashy premiere in late April at the Chinese Theatre or a group interview like this one in which Cross, De Rossi, Bateman and
"The curiosity among the actors is as high as the fans'," says
There is agreement that Bateman's episodes, the ones that were shown at the Chinese and officially numbered 1 and 2 in the new "anthology," are the best place to start. There you'll see an update on the always shaky Bluth family finances, the establishment of a killer Cuatro de Mayo celebration that's integral to all the story lines and a meta-proposal for a movie about the Bluth family to be directed by ... Ron Howard (who executive produced and narrated the original series).
But even here, revelations and utter confusion happily coexist. Watching the episodes for the first time, Bateman saw Michael Cera, who plays his devoted son, George Michael, sporting a mustache in one quick scene and couldn't, for the life of him, remember ever seeing it before, much less why it was there. A lengthy conversation in another scene that Bateman assumed was between his character and family patriarch George Sr. (
"That was Oscar?" asks a bewildered Walter, who plays the family's manipulative, martini-swilling mother. "I had no idea!"
"I had no idea when I was acting the scenes," Bateman replies, laughing.
"I remember one scene with David, and I was just sort of talking to him, and Mitch said, 'No, no, you've got to be really paranoid,'" Bateman says. "'Well, why?' 'Oh, I forgot. In something I haven't written yet, you overhear him on a phone call.' The idea of full context was always out the window."
Adds Walter: "My feeling is it might be some of the best work I've ever done — or the worst."