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For de Rossi, return to ‘Arrested’ was ‘surreal’

Netflix's Los Angeles Premiere Of Seas4 Of 'Arrested Development'

Netflix's Los Angeles Premiere Of Season 4 Of "Arrested Development"

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Updated: June 20, 2013 6:29AM

Portia de Rossi remembers a time when she couldn’t get “Arrested.”

To land the role of Lindsay Bluth Funke in the cult hit “Arrested Development,” she pulled out all the stops. “Somehow, I read the first page and thought, ‘I have to be part of this series.’ I had never read anything like that before for TV.”

First stop to iconic TV history: discount shopping. “I got a bright coral suit that was super tight, flashy and deliciously inappropriate,” she says with glee.

There was only one problem. “Development” creator Mitchell Hurwitz didn’t exactly have a role to cast. “It wasn’t even a pilot at that point, but I still begged to read for Mitch,” she says. “I told him, ‘Someday, you have to give this to me.’ ”

These days, the role is being given back to her. “Arrested Development” returns for a new season of episodes May 26 on Netflix.

“Amazing,” she says. “Ellen is a big fan of the show too. We’re superexcited.”

At age 39 and married to Ellen DeGeneres, de Rossi says that Ellen is prepared to indulge her better half.

“Before the premiere, we’re going to binge-watch each old episode,” she promises.

Fans have been counting the minutes until the show returns. Original episodes aired (all 55 of them) for three seasons on Fox from 2003 to 2006.

“Arrested Development” revolves around the formerly rich, quite dysfunctional Bluths after they lose everything and Lindsay’s brother Michael (Jason Bateman), the only levelheaded one, has to keep it all together.

When rumors of a reunion film went around, “I was asked, almost on a daily basis, about the movie,” she says. “The truth was I didn’t know. But occasionally, I’d run into [executive producer] Ron Howard, who would tell me that a movie was going to happen.”

What happened was Net­flix came calling.

What was it like to reunite with the cast? “Jason, Will Arnett and I had seen each other over the years at parties. But it was still surreal to see the entire cast do a scene in a penthouse,” she says. “It wasn’t overwhelming but felt right.”

The cast has been sworn to CIA-like secrecy by Hurwitz.

“I can tell you that my character has a situation with a bird,” de Rossi says. “That’s one of the only things I can talk about because there are a lot of birds in the series. I don’t know why. It’s an ongoing thing. Everyone has some kind of encounter with one of the birds.”

Another plot point is that we meet Lindsay’s mom (Jessica Walters) in her youth. “Kristen Wiig was so great in that role,” she says. “She does something special with it.”

Maybe DeGeneres can get a little more out of de Rossi, who appears on her talk show Wednesday. “Hopefully, my interview with Ellen will go OK,” she says. “I mean, she’s a tough interviewer. She can make me cry!”

When she’s not working on projects, de Rossi, a native of Australia, hangs out with DeGeneres at their home in Los Angeles and on their farm in the mountains.

“We just go to the farm to kick back, relax, cook rice and beans — which is Ellen’s specialty — and play with our dogs,” she says.

At times she’s in the headlines for her private life choices. Case in point: When she cut her hair last year, it made national news.

“I’m an outdoorsy girl who hangs out on a farm,” she says. “I ride horses and swim. The short hair suits my life. It’s very liberating.

“If someone wants the long flowing blonde hair ... well, that’s why they have wigs!”

Big Picture News Inc.

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