Tambor Returning to 'Arrested Development,' and That's Good

By Bunch, Sonny | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Tambor Returning to 'Arrested Development,' and That's Good


Bunch, Sonny, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


There was something grimly humorous about the treatment of Jeffrey Tambor during the promotional tour for "The Death of Stalin," Armando Iannucci's farce about the end of the Stalinist terrors.

Tambor plays Georgy Malenkov in the darkly comic treatise on bureaucratic evil that revolves around the efforts of Stalin's cronies to determine who will replace him as the head of the Politburo. It would be difficult to overpraise Tambor's work in the film: Initially withdrawn and a bit cowardly, he grows into his role as the presumptive head of the Soviet Union, turning imperious and caustic as the movie progresses. The film closes with a series of stills in which we see actors airbrushed out, a reminder of the very real way in which the Stalinists tried to control the present by destroying the past.

When news broke that Tambor had been fired from "Transparent" - Amazon's Emmy-winning series in which he played a transgender woman transitioning late in life, and the ripple effect on her family - over accusations of sexual harassment, art imitated life in the most absurd way possible. IFC, which was distributing "The Death of Stalin, airbrushed Tambor from the movie's poster, replacing him with actress Andrea Riseborough.

The absurdity of a movie about Stalinism deploying Stalinist tactics to disappear undesirable elements played into the hands of those who believed the #MeToo movement, initially lauded for taking down notorious predators like Harvey Weinstein, had morphed into a Stalinist moment, one in which accusations equaled guilt.

Removing an actor from a poster isn't the most dramatic aesthetic response Hollywood has had to the #MeToo moment - Kevin Spacey, accused of sexually assaulting minors, was literally cut from a film and replaced by Christopher Plummer and removed from "House of Cards before filming on its forthcoming season started - and director Iannucci has said that taking Tambor out of the picture wasn't in the cards, noting "it was great to work with him.

Tambor is also in the new season of "Arrested Development," debuting May 29, and prominently featured in the trailer announcing the return of the show. He will reportedly be doing media for the show and sat down for a long, one-on-one interview with the Hollywood Reporter in which he addressed the accusations. The forthcoming months will likely be somewhat awkward for Tambor, but he'll keep working.

And that's for the best.

There are people who have been exposed in the wave of #MeToo stories who may not deserve to work in the industry again, people who have been accused of using their position and their power to extract sexual favors and destroy those who do not go along to get along. …

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