Will Arnett Saved 'Arrested Development,' Creator Says
By Zach Dionne Posted Aug 24th 2010 02:38PM
With 'Running Wilde' -- the new TV collaboration between 'Arrested Development' creator Mitch Hurwitz and the Man Who Was Gob Bluth, Will Arnett -- set to air this fall, GQ featured a quick spot with the 40-year-old actor in the September issue.
To round out the piece, the editor e-mailed Hurwitz for a few words about Arnett. The reply was a 1,000-word lovefest about Arnett's character, irritatingly good looks, and how casting Gob saved 'Arrested Development' from spiraling into development hell. Read on.
"[The head of FOX] turned to me and said, 'We don't have the mother, we don't have the brother -- Mitch, this is how pilots die,' " Hurwitz writes. "[We] had Jessica Walter on tape ready to go, too. And of course, Will came in and completely nailed it. I mean, after weeks of it not working as we'd hoped and suddenly it's so beyond what we'd hoped for! [Casting director] Deb [Barylski] saved the show with those two people."
And though signing Arnett clinched the show's spot in the comedy pantheon, casting Gob was tougher -- much tougher -- than Hurwitz expected. "We had some hilarious guys -- but nobody really played him like a guy who thought of himself as the chosen son even though it was obvious to everyone else that he was the least favorite. A lot of guys went 'New Yawk' with it, almost played it 'street savvy.' It just turned out to be a very difficult target to hit."
And along came Arnett. "He really is as natural a talent, both as versatile and focused, as anyone I've ever worked with. He's a true delight. That's about the simplest way I can put it." Still, nothing stops Hurwitz from lumping "stupidly handsome" and "annoyingly tan" onto the praise pile.
As for 'Running Wilde,' GQ contends that Arnett plays a slight twist on the now infamous Will Arnett Role. As described by editor Devin Gordon, Arnett plays "the scion of a ruthless oil baron," a man-child who "throws decadent parties to give himself humanitarian awards and competes with his neighbor/arch-nemesis over who can buy the teensiest, priciest miniature Arabian horse. But at his core, Steve is a sad-sack romantic, desperate to win back the hand of his childhood sweetheart, an always-saving-something environmentalist played by 'Felicity' star Keri Russell."
Sounds like the oblique answer to our prayers for an 'Arrested Development' spinoff starring Gob and only Gob.
Pick up the new issue of GQ for the Arnett piece and another great Martin Schoeller photo, or visit GQ.com for the full letter from Mitch Hurwitz and a classic photo slideshow of the funnyman.
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