Fans of “Arrested Development” have been anxiously awaiting news of the forthcoming fifth season, and star Jason Bateman shares some scoop during a recent interview with the Daily Beast.
“I have no idea what’s ahead,” Bateman says of the long-awaited new season while promoting his new Netflix series, “Ozark”. “We start shooting in two weeks and I keep checking my phone for the first script, but it’s going to be amazing hanging out on the set again with that cast and that crew. I can’t wait.”
In fact, Bateman reveals that the forthcoming season will delve into politics by taking aim at the Trump administration, drawing on the uncanny parallels between the Trump family and the fictional Bluths.
“None of that is lost on [creator] Mitch Hurwitz. He’s aware of all of that stuff,” says Bateman. “And he and his writing staff have been in a cave for the last two or three months crafting these episodes, and they’re going to lean into a lot of that [Trump] stuff for sure. They can’t wait.”
In fact, an earlier season was eerily prescient by featuring a storyline about the then-ridiculous idea of building a border wall between Mexico and the U.S.
“It was a little bit more about Bush,” says Bateman of that plot. “But my god…the f***in’ wall between Mexico and the U.S.?”
In the interview, Bateman is informed that Donald Trump Jr. is being called “Gob” in some circles, nicknamed after the doofus Bluth brother played by Will Arnett. “Really? They’re calling Don Jr. Gob?” Bateman responds to the news. “That’s so funny. Wait… does that make me Eric?”
Bateman’s co-star Will Arnett had a few ideas on which Bluth brother would be Eric – and who would be Ivanka – and Don Jr., while speaking at his on-screen brother’s Hollywood Walk Of Fame star ceremony.
One of the biggest criticisms fans had about season four — the first one to air on Netflix, several years after “Arrested Development” was cancelled by Fox — was that characters were off in their own little storylines and rarely interacted with each other, a situation that Bateman promises will change in season five.
“We’re all together. We don’t have the same limitations that we had on us back then,” he says. “There were series exclusivities back then. Tony [Hale] for one, on ‘Veep’, couldn’t be on two shows at the same time. Also, Mitch [Hurwitz] thought it would be interesting to utilize the interface of Netflix at that time, where you could drop all the episodes at once like an album, and with all the action being simultaneous, you could click out of one guy’s episode and start another one and see a different perspective on the same scene. Editorially, I think that proved to be a little bit more of a challenge than he anticipated, and I think as a consequence it ended up having some more complications and wrinkles in it than maybe he intended. But this time, we’ll all be together and it won’t be like nine spin-offs.”
As for why there’s been such a delay between seasons (season four debuted in 2013), Bateman explains that “the business elements were the real hold-up. I would’ve carved out time to do this every year since we were cancelled. I love it. But there were business hurdles with something like this. Because the show was so successful for each of us within the community, we all had these great opportunities. Not to get too in the weeds, but everyone’s quotes went up and you can’t afford to pay everyone’s quotes for every episode, so then if you ask them to take a reduction then they’re not available to make full freight on another job where they’re not being asked to take a reduction. It’s complicated. People have families, want to play other parts. A lot of us have had a lot of great opportunities after that, and I’m glad we’ve all had a chance to do a lot of that stuff. And now the timing has worked perfectly for us to get together again.”