The cast of Arrested Development in a promotional photo from the series' first airing. AP Photo.
Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY
HOLLYWOOD -- The Bluths are back.
Thanks to a devoted fan base, creator Michael Hurwitz and Netflix, Arrested Development was resuscitated Monday night on Hollywood Boulevard, ringing in a brand-new season that launches May 26 on Netflix.
To celebrate the occasion, the series' happy cast, including Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter, assembled after a seven-year break. It seemed only fitting they were joined by a live ostrich, which also walked the carpet (and makes a cameo in the premiere episode).
De Rossi called the public reunion "such a relief. It's so exciting. I've been waiting for a long, long time." She and wife Ellen DeGeneres walked the orange carpet together, and said she watched old episodes of Arrested to prepare for the new shoot. "She did, we looked at them a little bit to remember her character. It just kind of came back to her," said DeGeneres.
"It was divine to put that hook back on," added Tony Hale, who plays Buster Bluth, who lost a hand to a sea creature.
"Seven years in the waiting, as they say," said Walter, who plays matriarch Lucille. That first day back "was emotional, for me," she added. "I care about this show a lot. It meant a lot for me in my career."
In the new season, the cast's stories pick up in "real time," said Bateman on the red carpet. "It's been what, seven years, and time has not been kind to him or anyone else in the family. So we're all kind of a little banged up."
Inside the TCL Chinese Theatre, the crowd hollered their thanks, greeting series creator Mitch Hurwitz with a long standing ovation. "You haven't seen it yet!" Hurwitz jokingly admonished the audience before introducing Season 4's first episode, Flight of the Phoenix (which featured a cameo by Kristen Wiig as a young Lucille), followed by a later episode. Both episodes focused on Michael Bluth (Bateman) storylines.
"The show we're doing, it's 15 episodes," Hurwitz explained to the crowd. "Together they sort of become one giant Arrested Development that slowly unfolds â€¦ everybody kind of has their own chapter in it." To make it work, the cast shot their storylines out of order to accommodate jigsaw-like schedules.
"I live in New York, and they shot it (in L.A.). And I think I made 14 trips. I now have hundreds of thousands of miles on American Airlines," said Walter.
Plus, the script was "sometimes not really written until we got there," said Bateman. "It was really kind of run-and-gun and exciting."
"Everybody has gone out on a limb on this thing, in a very major way. We're doing something that I think is very new," Hurwitz told the crowd.
Not to mention time-consuming. "(Hurwitz) almost didn't make it here tonight because he's still editing the show," noted Bateman. And although Hurwitz has past hinted that Season 4 will culminate in a feature film, the cast remained mostly mum on the topic. "If there is a movie, I think we've kind of caught the audience up from 2006 to 2012. I think that was the purpose of this series," said de Rossi. "And now by the end of this series we'll be in current time. That's all I know."
Post-screening, the cast, including guests Patton Oswalt and Andy Richter, gathered at an after-party held around the Roosevelt Hotel's Tropicana pool. The whimsical scene was filled with Arrested fan favorites: clusters of bananas, themed drinks, plastic swan rafts and posters of Tobias' denim cut-off shorts.
But outside of the two episodes screened (which Netflix asked press not spoil) clues about Season 4 were hard to come by. "I want to know what this ostrich is doing on the red carpet," said Tambor. "Is he in the show?"