There is always a lot of cover when Development stopped cast members are asked about the show’s future. For example, Tony Hale, who played Buster Bluth, told me in the Spring of 2019 that he “would be very surprised” if the favorite cult series returned for a sixth season on Netflix. But he didn’t rule it out, adding: “I have no idea what’s going to happen.” This time it’s different.
When I bring up the prospect of more episodes with David Cross, who was initially brought in to read for Buster and Gob before landing the role of Tobias Fünke, in this week’s episode of The last laugh podcast, he barely lets me ask the question before declaring, “It’s over.”
“It’s over,” he repeats three more times. When I ask him how he knows, he adds, “I just know.”
After premiering on Fox in 2003 and being canceled after three seasons, Development stopped had a much anticipated return to Netflix in 2013, and then what ended up being its fifth and final season five years later. The ending was ultimately marred, not only by the sexual harassment allegations against star Jeffrey Tambor, but also by a New York Times interview in which Jessica Walter opened up about how Tambor abused her on set and was quickly fired by her male co-stars including Cross.
Cross then apologized for his own behavior during this interview – as did Hale and Jason Bateman – and now he acknowledges that the tensions on set that led to this moment have a lot to do with why the show doesn’t. will never come back.
“I think those were all the things that led to this stuff becoming a problem on the set,” Cross said cautiously. “It was a tough process for everyone – exceptionally tough if you’re older,” he adds, alluding to Tambor and Walter. “And that wasn’t good, you know. It wasn’t good for the actors, that’s for sure.
Unlike the first few seasons, Cross explains that during Netflix seasons, actors weren’t given any scripts in advance and sometimes received massive rewrites moments before the director called for action.
“We didn’t know what we were supposed to do, things didn’t make sense to us,” he says. “And we were doing covers on things because someone thought of a joke, you know, three weeks later, so we had to do something again for a story that we had no idea what was going on.” .
“I mean, it was a terrible way for actors to try to do what they’re doing,” he continues. “And there was a lot of frustration at the start, the shoot kept expanding. And you know, you ask a lot of people, and especially older people who just don’t have the physical stamina that some younger cast and crew have. And that led to tension and it was just a really bad way to work.
These tensions, he suggested, directly led Tambor to yell at Walter, who told the Times, “In almost 60 years of work, I have never seen anyone yell at me like that on a set.”
Critically, the Netflix seasons did not elicit love and respect from the original race. And Cross certainly has better memories of filming those early seasons than what was apparently a reboot years later.
He also believes that what creator Mitch Hurwitz “tried to do” in seasons four and five “was really admirable and interesting and cool” while admitting it took him a while to figure out what was going on. “Once I figured that out, I really enjoyed it,” he says. “It was a really cool trippy puzzle and remains an interesting experience.”
Now we finally know that the experiment is officially over.
Next week on The last laugh Podcast: Co-star and co-writer of Hulu’s “Happiest Season”, Mary Holland.
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