After a heated New York Times interview with the cast of “Arrested Development” brought star Jessica Walter to tears last month as she recalled being verbally harassed by co-star Jeffrey Tambor, various members of the the comedy’s cast were expected to swiftly reckon with their behavior during the exchange. Actor David Cross offered an early apology in a subsequent interview with Gothamist, but the comedian has more to say on the subject.
In a new interview on SiriusXM’s “Jim & Sam Show” with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts, Cross offered some fresh perspective on the controversial incident.
“I definitely have a different feeling about it now, having read it and remembering it, than I did in the moment,” Cross said. “In the moment, it didn’t seem so egregious. I definitely get the criticism, I truly do.” He continued, “One of the lessons I’ve learned is, nobody gives a shit about your context. Nobody. If there’s a crying woman in the room — or whoever, if there’s somebody crying — nobody cares about your ‘well, buts.'”
Cross added later, “I don’t think what we did was right. And hopefully, I won’t do that again.”
The actor and comedian also shed some light on the climate in which the last season (during which the Walter and Tambor incident occurred) of “Arrested Development” was made, sharing that the cast felt immense pressure as their scripts kept changing. “It wasn’t an easy shoot,” he said. “We’re getting new pages. It was not cool, for an actor, it was a difficult time, because for myriad reasons I won’t go into, we’d get a script, they weren’t done. You’d get something at night, it’d be fucking pages and pages of stuff and then it would change later on that night. And then you’d get in in the morning, and you’d have two and a half new pages of long stuff.”
He added, “That’s hard for anybody. … It was one of the things that added to the tension, and people weren’t able to do the scenes correctly. That was a big part of it.”
Asked specifically about how he felt after the Times interview and the attention that was paid to it, Cross was cautious. “I’m being very careful now, because I don’t want to go through this shit again, I just got back on Twitter like yesterday, after taking a sabbatical,” Cross said.
The actor was a bit more open when asked about the response from the media, and how the interview became emblematic of a larger issue. “The gist of what I saw was, ‘fuck these men, this is a very male thing,'” he said. “And because of what we said and how we did talk over [Walter], it just became representative of ‘this is what’s wrong with men.’ I think it was less, a little less of ‘Bateman’s an asshole’ … but it was mostly ‘this is men, this is what we have to deal with.’ Of course, we all got personal shit. It was also a bummer because, we were happily, up until that moment … promoting this thing that we liked.”
Cross said he wrote an email to Walter after the incident, as did other members of the cast, and he says that everyone is still talking, emphasizing the feeling of “family” that has always been part of the long-running series.
Asked if he ever thought that Netflix might cancel the show, Cross admitted, “I wouldn’t say that I was one hundred percent solid that they wouldn’t [cancel the show].” The actor added that the streaming giant did cancel a number of press events after the Times interview.
Cross also discussed the impact of social media mobs and their tendency to skew towards “outrage” when something controversial hits the news, inevitably hopping on the next hot button issue. As Cross noted, the Roseanne Barr controversy unspooled just days after that contentious Times interview, and social media users soon turned their attention to that particular outrage. “There’s no conversation anymore,” he said. “It’s just, ‘fuck you!'”
You can check out the full episode of “The Jim & Sam Show” below.