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Hurwitz says 'Arrested Development' return like 'stepping into an abyss'

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TORONTO - Viewers won't have seen the last of the fictional Bluth clan after this weekend's "Arrested Development" reboot on Netflix, hints show creator Mitch Hurwitz.

"We can expect more of something. I don't know exactly what it will be," Hurwitz said Thursday in a conference call with international journalists.

"(But) there is more story to be told. There are all sorts of obstacles to making that a reality but my sense is that everybody is game. I certainly am."

Joined on the line by co-stars Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter, Hurwitz made no bones about his desire to keep his adored cast tied to their dysfunctional alter egos, a once-wealthy family struggling to maintain tenuous bonds despite criminal investigations, botched magic tricks, mistaken identities and the odd seal attack.

All key performers return for more ludicrous hijinks in this Sunday's rebirth, when the online streaming service will release 15 new episodes all at once.

Tambor marvelled at the devotion of fans who helped spur the return of the shortlived Fox comedy. He noted that a recent publicity appearance in London, England with fellow cast members drew crowds despite cold weather.

"I think who's ever operating the controls here would be missing a huge business opportunity were they not to keep going," said Tambor.

Hurwitz has said the episodes are intended to serve as a set-up for a still-hoped-for feature-length movie.

But they are also a bold experiment in non-linear storytelling since intertwined episodes will feature subtle gags that require multiple viewings to sink in.

Each new episode traces the adventures of a particular Bluth over the last several years, with other characters popping in and out in their own parallel storyline.

That was largely because it was so difficult to reunite the sprawling cast after so much time had passed and Hurwitz admitted Thursday that caused some issues during shooting.

"Because we didn't necessarily work as an ensemble every week, there was no way that anybody could really know what anybody else's story is, other than just sort of anecdotally hearing about it or I would walk them through quickly," he said.

"Maybe you'd work something out and I'd have to say, 'Oh no, no, no, that's not the case because in another show we did X and you're playing Y.' I don't know that it's the best way to work but it did push everybody to kind of invent on the spot. Myself included. I was constantly re-writing to accommodate story changes ... once I saw how the actors played things."

Walter said her eyes watered when the cast gathered for the first time in the penthouse home of her manipulative matriarch character, Lucille.

"We're not a sentimental group but I tell you, it brought tears to my eyes," Walter said of seeing everyone together after years.

"It was a very emotional moment for me because it was a fantasy come true. We had hoped for seven years this could happen, there were rumours — it's not going to happen, it'll never be, maybe it will be — and it was just the culmination of all those longings and hope."

Hurwitz said he's grateful to be able to bring the little-seen show back, and to do so in an unconventional way.

"In television, it's very easy to get into a rut and keep doing the same thing over and over again. I think what makes it challenging and fun for me is finding a new way to tell stories," said Hurwitz.

"When something like Netflix comes along and they're interested I can't help but try to find a way in which we could use their platform in a way that we wouldn't be able to use any other platform. And I think it makes it very challenging and it means stepping into an abyss to a certain extent.... It was a little scary at times. Is this folly? Is this a big mistake? But even if it is, I think there's just great benefits from taking risks like that."

"Arrested Development" returns Sunday on Netflix.

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