Don’t stop just because you think you’ve heard this all before. So many times.
Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz said he wants to to make an AD movie. But this time, this Monday night, in conversation with New York magazine’s John Sellers for the keynote conversation Monday night to kick off the 2013 New York Television Festival, Hurwitz has an honest-to-goodness honest answer about what that movie would look like now — as well as what it would take to make it happen via Netflix and 20th Century Fox in late 2013 and into 2014.
Hurwitz first told the audience at the SVA Theatre about how the press, even the friendly press, can twist his and everyone else’s words around about any and all developments with AD since it began its migration from FOX to Netflix and possibly to the big screen.
“Most recently, I was talking to a reporter at the Rolling Stone — we have a friend who works at the Rolling Stone — I was talking to a reporter there. And, talking about something else, like favorite shows, and I was talking about Bill Maher’s show. And then he said, ‘Hey, what’s going on with the movie?’ I said, ‘Well, the one thing we want to avoid is that there’s any press on this. Because that — it got out of control last time. Like, people would say, ‘Maybe the movie’s coming,’ and then it’d be in the press. It really just served to piss off the audience, ’cause it seemed like we were teasing with them. But yeah, I mean, I definitely want to do the movie. And then that was like the headline. ‘Movie’s coming! says Hurwitz.’ Ohhh! I’ve done it! I used to get so mad at Jeffrey Tambor. Oh, he talked to Mitch. Yeah, he wants to do it.”
“So. Here’s the thing.”
“We’ve developed this whole movie story, and then, the idea was, let’s do basically Act One of that movie at Netflix. And it grew. But the idea was originally, let’s do this kinda funky little thing where it’s these webisodes, and it’s one character at a time. And then, we’ll still do the movie. But, for the fans, we’ll have gotten some backstory out. There’s some more interest in seeing maybe what Maeby’s been up to, than just the two minutes we’d be able to give it in the movie, before the whole plot starts.”
“Then, as I started doing the Netflix show, it became irresistible. Well, this, we’ve got eight hours at Netflix, best case scenario the movie’s an hour and a half, so I guess we’ll put more in the TV show. But still, it always led up to a movie story.”
“So, the experience was so great with Netflix, that it was kind of irresistible to all of us to say, ‘Well, let’s keep doing something for Netflix. Let’s keep doing some kind of series for Netflix. The problem here is — and the reason I don’t mean to be coy about this — is that there are all these — a lot of the actors are on other shows, so they have first position contracts. Tony Hale, we could only get for three episodes, because he’s on HBO’s show, which is a great show, Veep. And also, we don’t — I mean, I have percentages, things like that — but the property is owned by Twentieth Century Fox. So it’s not like we can just take this to Paramount, and take this to Warner Bros., and do the things you do to get a movie made. See if you can get a couple of people interested and drive it that way. It really is owned by Fox. They could let go of it. Which is unlikely. But, so I’ve always been very cautious about talking about it, because I don’t want to be presumptuous. All I’ve been able to say is, ‘I really want to continue with this, and the cast really wants to continue with this.'”
“So my latest thought that has been approved by no one. (audience laughs) And I’m already paranoid that I’m going to hear like, ‘Well, were you telling people that you’re bringing the show?…we don’t have the…’ Adam Berkowitz will say that to me. My agent is right there (gesturing to the second row). ‘What the fuck are you doing up there?!’ (audience laughs) Would you mind coming up here and as I’m saying this, just signing off on this? For legal reasons.”
“No, so basically, what my new thing is. Because it might be tough to get the cast together for like the four months that you would need to make a series, is to try to get them together for four weeks, sooner, and do the movie that is the story that we’ve been building up to in the show. And then, bring the series back after that.”
“It’s not my decision. But it’s what I want to do. And the reason I’m not saying, ‘Hey, let’s just go do the series next,’ is because I’m worried it’ll take two years to make all of those deals. It’ll just mess with people. It’s like this weird tease to all of us. To the audience. And things like that. So my goal is kind of do a movie for Netflix type thing, and then go into the series.”
Arrested Development’s fourth season debuted this year on Netflix.