What are the ‘Arrested Development’ alumni up to now?

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Teen star Michael Cera appears in 'Year One' this week. Time Out remembers when he first struck comedy gold in sitcom 'Arrested Development', and decided to look how the members of its perfectly balanced ensemble have fared since the show's cancellation in 2006.

Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth

As we all know, Mr Cera’s career pretty much went nuclear after his stint on ‘Arrested Development’ as sexually frustrated only child, George Michael Bluth. A few one-off performances followed in US teen staples such as ‘Veronica Mars’ and ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!’, but it was as sexually frustrated school-leaver Evan in Greg Mottola’s teen comedy behemoth ‘Superbad’ where we saw that Cera had a potentially fruitful cinematic career ahead of him. His wooing of mainstream America continued when he played sexually frustrated high-schooler Paulie Bleeker in ‘Juno’, helping bring an ostensibly gauche, ‘indie’-flavoured comedy kicking and screaming to the heights of box office glory. And though his work in films like ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ made it look like he was treading sexually frustrated water, we very much look forward to seeing him in the forthcoming adaptation of the GD Payne novel ‘Youth In Revolt’, especially if this tantalising early missive is anything to go by.

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Jeffrey Tambor as George Bluth Sr/Oscar Bluth

The jumping box has kept Tambor’s career ticking over for years. After a scene-stealing turn in Al Pacino-headlining legal farce ‘…And Justice For All’ (1979) roles started to get a little threadbare until he was cast as one of the greatest TV characters of all time in Hank 'Hey, now' Kingsley - announcer-cum-stalker -cum-prank monkey to fictional chat-show host Larry Sanders. Since then he has appeared in everything from ‘Girl, Interrupted’ (1999) and ‘Pollock’ (2000) to ‘Hellboy’ (2004) and that Grinch film. Given that George Sr was guilty of treason and Hank was debilitatingly insecure, it comes as some small surprise to find that Tambor is currently packing them in on the motivational circuit...

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Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth

Walter has had a varied career that stretches back to hokey Super Panavision Formula 1 extravaganza ‘Grand Prix’ in 1964. Her most famous part is undoubtedly that of Clint Eastwood’s number one fan in weirdo ‘Fatal Attraction’ foreshadow ‘Play Misty For Me’(1971), a role which remains iconic enough to make up for any and all involvement in the camp TV movie treatment of Marvel Comics’ ‘Dr. Strange’ (1978) and the chortle-free orangutan inheritance caper ‘Going Ape!’ (1981), co-starring Tony Danza. So successful was her turn as the Bluths' acid-tongued matriarch that she was asked to all-but reprise it for the abortive 2008 update of (Beverly Hills)‘90210’.

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Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth

Surely Bateman’s performance as self-appointed stand-in patriarch Michael Bluth will go down as one of the greatest straight-man acts in TV comedy. As the episodes rolled on, it was Bateman’s reactions to the zingers delivered by his supporting cast which actually gleaned more laughs than the zingers themselves. Obviously, Bateman has been in the industry for a while, starting his career in iconic TV shows like ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and ‘St Elsewhere’ and non-iconic films like ‘Teen Wolf Too’. Post ‘Arrested Development’, he’s developed a nice little trade in stealing films from under the noses of the key actors: Exhibit a) as bunny-suit wearing bail-bondsman Rupert ‘Rip’ Reed in the otherwise execrable ‘Smokin’ Aces’. Exhibit b) as silver-tongued bomb-site techie Adam Leavitt in reactionary Saudi-set war actioner, ‘The Kingdom’, and, exhibit c) as vacuous PR guru Dominic Foy in nuts-and-bolts publishing-world thriller, ‘State of Play.

 

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Will Arnett as George Oscar ‘G.O.B.’ Bluth

Before ‘AD’, Arnett was, like Bateman, schlepping back and forth between failed sitcom pilots and third-string roles in shonky indie no-nos like ‘Ed’s Next Move’ (1996). Since his break, Silky Will has appeared as gold-standard burn-out Lou Redwood in superior Will Ferrell b-ball comedy ‘Semi-Pro’ (2008) and as Lee Majors’s son in the regrettable Forest Gump-meets-Juno insemination romp ‘The Brothers Solomon’(2007) . His real success, however, has come with voice-over work for such megabucks animated larks as ‘Ratatouille’ (2007), ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ (2008) and this year’s ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’. He was also set to be the voice of KITT in the update of TV’s ‘Knight Rider’ until Ford – makers of the car featured in the show – pointed out to the producers that Arnett was, at the time, voicing the ads of competitor General Motors – something that, in true Gob style, Arnett had neglected to mention…

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Portia De Rossi as Lindsay Bluth

Mrs Ellen DeGeneres shone as air-headed, spoilt daughter Lindsay Bluth in a role that brought her back to the limelight after a somewhat quiet period following legal-eagle kookfest, ‘Ally McBeal’. Since the final series of ‘Arrested Development’, all has been pretty quiet on the de Rossi front. She acted in a bizarre looking self-help docudrama called ‘Ambition to Meaning: Finding Your Life's Purpose’ in 2009 and spun her wheels with a recurring role in on plastic surgery drama ‘Nip/Tuck’.

 

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Tony Hale as Byron ‘Buster’ Bluth

Arguably the silliest character on the ‘Arrested Development’ cast list, but hats of to the Hale for managing to imbue obstinate mamma’s boy Byron ‘Buster’ Bluth with traces of genuine human depth despite talking in a high-pitched nasal whine and spending much of the series instigating abortive love trysts with a broody Liza Minnelli. He’s been very busy since the programme ended, taking numerous smaller roles in (admittedly lacklustre) comedy films such as ‘Larry the Cable Guy’ and ‘RV’, as well as popular TV serials like ‘ER’ and ‘Chuck’. It’s likely that the next place that UK viewers will be able to see Hale is opposite Jason Bourne himself, Matt Damon, in Steven Soderbergh’s forthcoming psychological spy caper, ‘The Informant’.


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David Cross as Tobias Fünke

Cross is big news ‘cross the pond. ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’, ‘Space Ghost’ and ‘Crank Yankers’ may just seem like randomly assembled groups of nouns to us Brits, but they’re hit TV shows that have made him a star over there. Such celebrity has allowed him to pick and choose his big-screen flings, mixing it up with ‘Men in Black’ (1997), ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004) and a standout turn as Allen Ginsberg in the Cate Blanchett segment of Todd Haynes’s kaleidoscopic Bob Dylan carve-up ‘I’m Not There’ (2007). Was also once warm-up man for boutique-metal goons Tool, fact fans! He can now be seen opposite ‘AD” co-star Cera in ‘Year One’ and will soon be heard as a voice in the ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ sequel. Also, if recent rumours are to be believed, Cross will join Will Arnett and director Spike Jonze in a Channel 4 sitcom named ‘The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret’.

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Alia Shawkat as Mae ‘Maeby’ Fünke

Despite her tender years, Shawkat has proved she can shake it up with the best of them. Part Iraqi, part Irish, part Norwegian and altogether talented, Maeby has bounced from her early showing as ‘Amir’s Daughter #1’ in 1999’s Gulf War oddity ‘Three Kings’ to what-it says-on-the-tin Martin Lawrence college basketball comedy 'Rebound' to coming of age indie gem ‘Bart Got A Room’. Next up is bonkers-sounding Tex-Mex roller derby saga ‘Whip It!’ co-starring Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis and Har-Mar Superstar. Good luck with that one, kidder!

Author: Adam Lee Davies, David Jenkins



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