Back to IndieWire

‘Arrested Development’: Mitch Hurwitz Did Not Realize ‘How Deeply Upsetting’ Jeffrey Tambor’s Outburst Was to Jessica Walter

"I misinterpreted what I understood to have played out, and more importantly the depth of Jessica’s pain about it," said the series creator of the on-set incident.

Mitch Hurwitz

Mitch Hurwitz

Lauren Caulk/NYTVF

Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz recently broke his silence about the controversy surround the family comedy, telling Deadline he regrets not understanding the severity of an on-set altercation between two of the show’s stars, Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter. This is the first interview Hurwitz has given since Walter broke down in tears during a recent New York Times interview with the “Arrested” cast, during which Jason Bateman minimized the incident and spoke over his onscreen mother. Hurwitz described the details of Tambor’s outburst, explaining that Tambor walked off set after Walter requested they reset.

“It was something minor, like he was doing a speech and Jessica wanted to redo something in her speech,” said Hurwitz. “She’s a perfectionist, which I have a horrible case of myself, and he’s sort of loose with it, finds his way back if he gets off course within the speech, for instance… And she was resetting and he got upset and was like, ‘Oh, come on! You always do this!’ He continued for a bit and she apologized. ‘I’m sorry, Jeffrey, I’m sorry.’ But he continued and then walked off—the set apparently, but he walked out of frame.”

At the time, Walter told Hurwitz how upsetting the incident was and Tambor apologized. “Jessica was really gracious about that—and, you know, was professional in that she didn’t let on that it was still upsetting and present for her. She’s a total pro and the set went back to functioning as well as it always has due to her professionalism, and that’s to her immense credit,” he said.

It wasn’t until the Times interview came out that Hurwitz realized the extent to which the outburst had affected Walter.

I’m guilty of not realizing how deeply upsetting that was for Jessica. I heard about it and saw parts of it in the dailies, although the part I saw didn’t seem that—I don’t know—momentous. But fights and outbursts always start with things that are smaller… There was more to it than I realized, and it’s not my place to opine about what I believe was the weight of it. I misinterpreted what I understood to have played out, and more importantly the depth of Jessica’s pain about it. I feel so bad about that. I feel bad because I love these people—I feel bad for very personal reasons…I wish I’d known, or made a greater effort to know, the pain that it caused.”

Hurwitz also discussed the decision not to fire Tambor after the actor was accused of sexual harassment while on the set of “Transparent.” “Jeffrey refutes those claims, Amazon hasn’t shared details with us, and we’ve never had any sexual harassment allegations of any type on our show—a point that Jessica Walter has made as well,” he said. “I’m not defending sexual harassment. It is and should be a job-terminating offense. I just don’t have any information on whatever happened there. Nor do I have any evidence of him ever sexually harassing anyone in the 20 years, off and on, that I’ve worked with him.”

Read the full interview with Hurwitz here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , ,