Nellie Andreeva

If you wondered how long it took before first Arrested Development-related question at the Running Wilde panel came in, it was a couple of minutes. The comparisons are inevitable: new Fox comedy series Running Wilde was created by Arrested alums Mitch Hurwitz, Will Arnett and Jim Vallely and stars Arnett, with another Arrested actor, David Cross, recently joining the cast in a recasting.

“We very much loved Arrested Development, we miss it and that’s why we still want to make the movie, Hurwitz said, adding after the session that the script for the movie is halfway done. “But this is a different project, and it has a different set of rules to it.”

Addressing the fact that, with Wilde, he is looking to do a romantic comedy with wider appeal than the off-beat Arrested, Hurwitz confessed that “I have a fear of success…. a hope of it being cancelled,” but later added that he is “glad to be trying to make a show that attracts larger audience.”

Added Arnett, “We’re out of our comfort zone and we’re figuring it out.” Arnett, one of the current kings of dead-pan humor, was overshadowed on the panel by recent cast addition Peter Serafinowicz, who is sometime referred to “the British Will Arnett.” (Serafinowicz was recently upped to a regular after guest starring in the pilot.) One example: He followed Hurwitz’s praise of Fox’s support for the project with this take on the network: “It’s come such a long wasy since the days they just did documentaries about foxes,” he said with a completely straight face, drawing big laughs.

The creators talked about the slew of tweaks to the pilot, that will result in more than a half of it being reshot, according to Hurwitz.

He pointed to Fox entertainment president’s criticism (which he agreed with) that “we have lost a lot of what was special about the Emmy character,” Steve’s (Arnett) love interest played by Keri Russell.

Additionally, besides the casting of Cross, the creators re-conceived the characters of Steve’s ex-nanny, which has been given a gender makeover form a matriarch figure to a manny, and that of his driver/friend, who is now “more contemporary to Steve” with a dynamic between him and his boss in the vein of that between Steve Carell and John Krasinski’s characters on The Office. As a result, the two roles were recently recast,with Robert Michael Morris replacing Jayne Houdeyshell and Mel Rodriguez replacing Joseph A. Nunez. Additionally, production has been moved from Vancouver to New York, mostly because of the lack of opulent mansions up north. “In nutshell, Vanc-over,” is how Serafinowicz summed up the move.

The panel also had a touch of Kids Say the Darnest Things when young star Stefania Owen, who plays Russell’s daughter, was asked to talk about her character. “I am the only mature one, and the rest are pretty stupid,” she said, promting Hurwitz to interject: “You’re not talking about the people on the panel, right?”

“Uh, well,” was all Owen would say.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.

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