Whether it's the self-absorbed (and completely un-self-aware) Gob Bluth on Arrested Development or Jack Donaghy's ridiculously competitive archnemesis Devon Banks on 30 Rock, Will Arnett is best known for his more, shall we say, eccentric roles. But for his new gig on CBS' freshman comedy The Millers, Arnett is enjoying playing it (slightly) more conventional.
"Playing these characters that are much more extreme... or dysfunctional or messed up — I was always attracted to that because it seemed more fun," he told reporters at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews Monday. "I'm excited by the challenge of it. It's a lot more grounded and it's also much more reflective of where I am as a person.
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Following his leading man roles in the short-lived Running Wilde and Up All Night, Arnett said he did not take the decision to sign on for The Millers — his first multi-camera comedy — lightly. "It is something that I considered when I first started talking to Greg [Garcia] and [pilot director] Jimmy Burrows. Jimmy Burrows said to me, 'You're going to have to be the eyes of this show, babe.' ... It's a role that I welcome," Arnett said. "I'm 43 years old and, to me, it seemed like a great time for me to do something that I was really looking forward to doing every day."
On the series, Will plays Jack Miller, a recently divorced TV reporter whose life is complicated when his parents (Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges) also decide to split and his mom moves in with him. After gaining notoriety for her dramatic turns on Justified and, most recently, The Americans, Martindale said she was excited to cross over to comedy. "I always wanted to be on a sitcom, I just started killing people along the way," she joked. "I love that [The Millers] was a multi-camera because it feels like stage. I think it's a different muscle for me — the old muscle. I think it will keep me on my toes more."
Figuratively and literally. At the end of The Millers pilot, Arnett and Martindale's characters perform the infamous dance number from Dirty Dancing. "That's what really brought us altogether was our love of Dirty Dancing," Arnett quipped. "Margo and I didn't really know each other before. I knew her work and it was initially very difficult to get through it because her timing was so great and it was such a fun, funny process."
The Millers premieres on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.
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