"This pilot ("Arrested Development" (2003)), by far, was the best I ever read -- and I hope that insults every other pilot I worked on." Will Arnett.
Canadian actor Will Arnett is widely recognized while playing George "Gob" Bluth II (2003-2006), an unsuccessful professional magician and older brother of Jason Bateman’s Michael, on Fox's character-driven Emmy-winning comedy series "Arrested Development." Since the success of the show, Arnett has been landing roles in major comedy films, notably Monster-in-Law (2005), Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006; voice), RV (2006) and Let's Go to Prison (2006). He will star in a string of upcoming films, including The Brothers Solomon, On Broadway, Hot Rod, Blades of Glory, Spring Breakdown, Get 'Em Wet, Jeff the Demon, and Most Likely to Succeed.
As for his personal life, the 6' 2½" tall actor was married to actress Penelope Ann Miller. He is currently the husband of "Saturday Night Live" comedian Amy Poehler.
Childhood and Family:
In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, William Emerson Arnett was born on May 5, 1970. He has two older twin sisters, and a younger brother. Will was briefly a student at Lakefield College School in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada. He also attended French-speaking schools in Toronto, and still speaks French but is not fluent.
From 1994 to 1995, Will was married to Kindergarten Cop actress Penelope Ann Miller (born on January 13, 1964). Eight years after their divorce, Will tied the knot with New York-based comedic actress Amy Poehler (born on September 16, 1971; of “Saturday Night Live” fame) on August 29, 2003. The comedic power couple appeared together in four episodes of “Arrested Development” in between 2004 and 2005. They will also star together in the upcoming films On Broadway, Blades of Glory, and Spring Breakdown. Will is good friend of screenwriter/playwright Dave McLaughlin.
“From the moment we met, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It was great. We didn't know what we were doing, and all of a sudden she got Saturday Night Live, so we kind of decided that I guess I had to move to New York; otherwise it wasn't going to work out. So I moved back to New York and it was the greatest. It was great. Probably the best thing that's ever happened to me is Amy.” Will Arnett (on his wife, Amy Poehler).
“I started when I was a young teenager. My mom encouraged me to go to read for some stuff in Toronto, and I ended up doing a couple of crappy commercials and was like, 'Oh, yeah, I'd like to do this!' And then kind of put it on the back burner, and then pursued it a little bit when I was in Toronto, like studying a little bit here and there. And I decided to move to New York and go to Lee Strasberg. And I kind of, for the first time ever, really felt like I was doing something that I enjoyed, and that I felt like I could conceivably be good at. And when those two things happen, ironically you're off to the races.” Will Arnett (on his start in acting).
Getting his very early acting role in an independent film called Erie in 1995 alongside Felicity Huffman, Will Arnett followed it up with tiny parts in writer-director Przemyslaw Reut's Close Up and writer-director John Walsh's little known romantic comedy movie Ed's Next Move (both in 1996). He was also seen in Elizabeth Holder's 15-minute film Weekend Getaway and writer-director Estep Nagy's dark drama The Broken Giant (both in 1998).
“My first movie was this independent that I did on the Erie Canal in 1995, called Erie, that I don't know if you could even get, actually with Felicity Huffman. And then from that I did this film that was eventually called The Broken Giant later that fall. And then I kind of started getting into doing pilots.” Will Arnett (on his early career).
After appearing in John Shea's coming-of-age tale about a young man growing up in a dysfunctional family in the Irish-American enclave of South Boston, Southie (1998; written by good friend Dave McLaughlin), alongside Donnie Wahlberg and Rose McGowan, Arnett was cast as one of the aspiring actors who wait tables in a popular New York eatery in writer-director Ken Liotti's ensemble romantic comedy The Waiting Game (1999). He also played a role in Jill Hennessy and Elizabeth Holder's comedy about an exceptionally dysfunctional acting class, The Acting Class (2000).
Meanwhile, Arnett began making his first television appearances, notably in an episode of HBO popular comedy show based on the novel by Candace Bushnell, “Sex & The City,” NBC police procedural drama “Third Watch” and starred on NBC two-episode sitcom "The Mike O'Malley Show." Being asked about being the part of the very short-lived show, Arnett commented: “You know, I think that show got a really bad rap, but by the end -- by the sixth or seventh episode or whatever it was that we made -- we were starting to find a voice on that show, and we were very disappointed. I took the disappointment of that really to heart, and the year after that got cancelled was probably the darkest year of my life. It was tough. It was a really tough time for me. And I didn't get a lot of work. And I didn't do anything, I just kind of drank those years away.”
In the early new millennium, Arnett appeared more frequently on the small screen. He was spotted as a guest in such TV series as Fox’s drama “Boston Public,” CBS’ sitcom “Yes, Dear,” HBO’s hit family drama “The Sopranos” and NBC cop drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He also appeared in made-for-TV movies, including the comedy Loomis (2001), starring Cheri Oteri, and the boxing drama Undefeated (2003), by actor-writer-director John Leguizamo.
“Most shows, you really have to force it. And everybody's nervous, and the network is nervous, and they've all got their notepads out, and they're all going to give notes on what they think is funny, and everybody's trying to spin their jokes, and this was so-- the script was so good that we didn't have to really do anything, and it made it so easy for us to do well.” Will Arnett (on “Arrested Development”).
2003 marked Arnett with his breakout role as George "Gob" Bluth II, Michael's (played by Jason Bateman) older brother who is an unsuccessful professional magician, on Fox's character-driven Emmy-winning comedy series "Arrested Development." For his role in the acclaimed show, Arnett received a nomination at the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006 and two nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2005 and 2006. Despite the critical acclaim, the show struggled to find a wide audience throughout its run. Premiered on November 2, 2003, "Arrested Development" eventually ended on February 10, 2006, with the show's creator Mitchell Hurwitz's decision not to make its continuation.
“It was a really fun part to play, just that incredible insecurity masked by an incredible amount of bravado. But all of that was just a total front for somebody who's not been loved. With that, as an actor, it gave me a lot of license to be kind of awful and simultaneously sweet. We always sort of joked that the writers created these pretty terrible characters. On paper, they were pretty terrible people, and it was always our job to try to make them likable. So I miss that experience, and I do miss Gob, that old rogue.” Will Arnett (on “Arrested Development” character Gob Bluth).
During his “Arrested Development” stint, Arnett had a memorable guest performance as dancer Artemis Johnson, who vies with Jack (played by Sean Hayes) for a spot as one of Janet Jackson’s back-ups, in a September 2004 episode of the hit NBC sit-com “Will & Grace.” He also returned to the big screen in Robert Luketic's romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda and Michael Vartan, Monster-in-Law, and in Danny Leiner's post-9/11 drama comedy starring Tony Shalhoub, Edie Falco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Great New Wonderful (both in 2005).
2006 saw Arnett lent his voice to Lone Gunslinger the vulture in the wildly successful sequel to Ice Age (2002), Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), co-starred as Nelson Biederman IV, the obnoxious son of a judge in Bob Odenkirk's dark comedy movie loosely based on the non-fiction book "You Are Going To Prison" by Jim Hogshire, Let's Go to Prison (ooposite Dax Shepard), and supported Robin Williams in Barry Sonnenfeld's family road trip comedy movie RV. He also starred as Duncan Schiesst, a Freak-Mart employee trying to purchase Mr. and Mrs. Hartsdale's Freak Show, on Comedy Central's animated sitcom, "Freak Show," which debuted on October 4, 2006.
Arnett just wrapped his latest film, The Brothers Solomon, a comedy film by Bob Odenkirk in which Arnett will share the title role of the good-hearted and well-meaning, but socially inept brothers with Will Forte. He will soon complete his upcoming films: best friend writer-director Dave McLaughlin's independent comedy On Broadway (with Joey McIntyre, Eliza Dushku and Mike O'Malley), Akiva Schaffer's action-comedy Hot Rod (starring Andy Samberg; due out on June 1, 2007), Josh Gordon and Will Speck's skating comedy slated to be released on March 30, 2007, Blades of Glory (starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder; Arnett will team with wife Amy Poehler playing their uncompromisingly competitive reigning pairs champions), and Ryan Shiraki's comedy expected to be released on April 13, 2007, Spring Breakdown (starring Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler and Parker Posey).
Arnett apparently will get busier in 2007 as he has been announced to star in a number of upcoming films, include Get 'Em Wet, a comedy film in which he will reunite with Dax Shepard playing two hot tub salesmen who travel to Japan to break into the local market, and Jeff the Demon, James Bobin's comedy in which Arnett will portray the titular role. He is also set to play the lead role as a man who lies to his former dream girl about his rich lifestyle in order to impress her in the Russo Brothers' upcoming comedy movie, Most Likely to Succeed.
“At a certain point, you've got to be really honest with yourself. Like, 'Why am I doing this? What are my motivations?' Like, if you get into it because you want to be famous? Then you've got a long row to hoe. But if you really feel like it's a labor of love and it's something you're actually legitimately good at, then it's not that hard to keep plugging away.” Will Arnett (on acting).