“I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set.”

The cast of Arrested Development have given an interview to the New York Times (the same newspaper which broke the Harvey Weinstein story) in which they were asked about working with co-star Jeffrey Tambor.

Tambor sent out an email to cast to apologise for “the distraction” and acknowledged he did yell at people on Transparent, but has denied other allegations.

Jason Bateman said he wouldn’t do another season without Tambor, but Jessica Walter spoke through tears as she related an incident in which Tambor had yelled at her.

The awkward interview was conducted with Tambor in the room.

These excerpts include Jeffrey Tambor (George), Jason Bateman (Michael), Jessica Walter (Lucille), Tony Hale (Buster), Alia Shawkat (Maeby):

TAMBOR: I had a temper and I yelled at people and I hurt people’s feelings. And that’s unconscionable, and I’m working on it and I’m going to put that behind me, and I love acting.

BATEMAN: Again, 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 [expletive] 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.

SHAWKAT: But that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. And the point is that things are changing, and people need to respect each other differently.

WALTER [THROUGH TEARS]: 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.

TAMBOR: Absolutely.

WALTER: 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.

BATEMAN: She didn’t give it up for anybody else.

HALE: 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.

WALTER: But not like that, not like that. That was bad.

HALE: Not like that. But I’m saying we’ve worked together 15 years, there has been other points of anger coming out.

BATEMAN: Exactly. Again, there is context. What we do for a living is not normal, and therefore the process is not normal sometimes, and to expect it to be normal is to not understand what happens on set. Again, not to excuse it, Alia, but to be surprised by people having a wobbly route to their goal, their process — it’s very rarely predictable. All I can say, personally, is I have never learned more from an actor that I’ve worked with than Jeffrey Tambor. And I consider him one of my favorite, most valued people in my life.

Walter also said she had no reservations about working with Tambor again.

“No. I’ve just given it up. And you know, there’s something really, really freeing about that now. I realize that. I don’t want to walk around with anger. I respect him as an actor. We’ve known each other for years and years and years. No, no, no, no. Of course, I would work with him again in a heartbeat,” she said.

You can read more and hear the interview here.

Arrested Development returns in a Marathon 5pm Wednesday, May 30 on Comedy.
Episodes also airing weekly Mondays at 9.00pm from June 4.


  1. I suppose it’s a bit obvious to say that acting is role playing, and some actors get a bit too self absorbed in their parts and sometimes their own personality can conflict on set. What Bateman says is true, in the past cruel and banal behaviour by celebrity elites was tolerated because the producers wanted the show or movie made, some more recent celebrity actors have had some quite serious clashes on set including fights that become too realistic which can be a risky thing when your opponent is Tom hardy, who also had differences with Charlize Theron, a woman who plainly accepts no fools herself. It’s a tough business.

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