An “Arrested Development” Interview Turned Really Awful For Jessica Walter

May 24, 2018 / Posted by:

When seven cast members of Arrested Development recently sat down with The New York Times for an interview about the upcoming fifth season, I’m sure they all thought they’d have a great time. (Ron Howard voice) They did not. Jason Bateman came to the defense of on-set jerk Jeffrey Tambor, and while doing so, he simultaneously took a hot cornballer shit all over Jessica Walter’s feelings.

Earlier this month, Jeffrey did a redemption interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he acknowledged he’s been guilty of “outbursts,” and that Transparent wasn’t the only set that experienced such. It was briefly mentioned that he had “a blowup” with Jessica Walter on the set of Arrested Development. When reached for comment, a rep for Jessica said: “Jessica does not wish to talk about Jeffrey Tambor.

Sadly, Jessica has to do press for Arrested Development, which means she does have to talk about – and to – Jeffrey “The Terror” Tambor. That topic came up during the interview with the Times. Jason Bateman began by defending Jeffrey for popping off on Lucille Bluth by saying:

“Not to belittle it or excuse it or anything, but in the entertainment industry it is incredibly common to have people who are, in quotes, ‘difficult.’ And when you’re in a privileged position to hire people, or have an influence in who does get hired, you make phone calls. And you say, ‘Hey, so I’ve heard X about person Y, tell me about that.’ And what you learn is context. And you learn about character and you learn about work habits, work ethics, and you start to understand. Because it’s a very amorphous process, this sort of bullshit that we do, you know, making up fake life. It’s a weird thing, and it is a breeding ground for atypical behavior and certain people have certain processes.”

Alia Shawkat then cut him off by defending Jessica, saying: “But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.” Jessica, clearly very emotional, chimed in, saying nobody has ever spoken to her the way Jeffrey has.

“Let me just say one thing that I just realized in this conversation. I have to let go of being angry at him. He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go. [Turns to Tambor.] And I have to give you a chance to, you know, for us to be friends again…But it’s hard because honestly – Jason says this happens all the time. In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set. And it’s hard to deal with, but I’m over it now. I just let it go right here, for The New York Times.”

This would be the time that Buster Bluth would have jumped to his mother’s defense and thrown a hook in the face of anyone who dare make her cry like that. But Tony Hale clearly isn’t Buster Bluth, and he decided to step up to bat for Team Tambor.

“But I will say, to Jason’s point, we can be honest about the fact that – and not to build a thing – we’ve all had moments.”

Jessica responded: “But not like that, not like that. That was bad.” You can listen to that sad moment here below.

Usually Jason Bateman is the type to defend a lady when she’s been wronged by an asshole, but I guess he only jumps into action when he’s married to them. Because Jason doubled down. David Cross joined in as well, and the two of them tag-teamed whatever was left of Jessica Walter’s self-esteem.

David Cross: I agree with everybody. And I think it’s important to note – and it hasn’t been noted – that this kind of behavior that’s being described, it didn’t just come out of the blue. It wasn’t zero to 60. There is a cumulative effect sometimes.

Jason Bateman: You have different people’s processes that converge and collide at times. So Jeffrey is not just popping off, coming out of his car and some unhinged guy.

David Cross: That’s what I’m trying to say.

Jason Bateman: Not to say that you know, you [Walter] had it coming. But this is not in a vacuum – families come together and certain dynamics collide and clash every once in a while. And there’s all kinds of things that go into the stew so it’s a little narrow to single that one particular thing that is getting attention from our show.

After the interview came out, it didn’t take long for anyone to see that it was a bigger disaster than a model home built by the Bluth Company. Specifically, the internet was not feeling Jason’s repeated dismissal of Jessica’s feelings.

Jason must have heard all the people channeling their inner Lucille and hissing, “I don’t care for Jason Bateman,” because he offered up an apology on Twitter today. Jason says he’s “incredibly embarrassed” at how he came across in the interview, and that he’s deeply sorry.

Tony Hale has also apologized for minimizing Jessica’s story.

I just still can’t get over how fast Jason et al were willing to throw themselves on a grenade for Jeffrey Tambor. The last time I checked, he was a secondary character whose best work was acting opposite an ice cream sandwich in jail or up in the attic. Meanwhile, they’re turning their backs on Jessica Walter like Lucille spotting Lucille II in the elevator. I think I believe them when they talk about Arrested Development being like a family; it definitely felt for a moment there that they all shared the same male asshole DNA that makes up Gob Bluth.


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