By now you may have already heard that David Cross is joining Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett’s new comedy series Running Wilde, bringing in another piece to the Arrested Development reunion that’s forming on the upcoming Fox half-hour series. But the story behind Cross’ casting is just as intriguing as it involves two actors, one second-position casting and one pesky Icelandic volcano.
Cross was the original choice to play Andy, the radical environmentalist fiancé of Arnett’s love interest Emmy (Keri Russell). But just as filming on the Lionsgate TV-produced pilot was underway in April, Cross got stuck in the UK when the country’s airspace was closed as air travel in Northern Europe was severely disrupted by the eruption of Iceland’s now-infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. With Cross certain to miss the shoot, actor Andrew Daly was approached to step in and do the role in the pilot. Daly had just wrapped another comedy pilot, NBC’s The Paul Reiser Show, where he was a regular, so for him Running Wilde would’ve been in second position at best.
Here is how Daly describes the events in a post on aspecialthing.com:
So Mitch Hurwitz & Will Arnett asked if I would sit in for Cross in the pilot – my first time as a television understudy. I did the Running Wilde pilot knowing that a) if the show got picked up, David would come back to play Andy and b) if The Paul Reiser Show got picked up, I’d have a full time TV job and wouldn’t have been able to play Andy anyway even if the Fox executives were so thrilled with my performance in the pilot that they were desperate to have me at any cost! (might’ve daydreamed about that scenario once or twice)
Through bizarre happenstance that I can only attribute to black magic, both of the pilots I appeared in this year were ordered to series. David has been restored to the role he was originally hired to play and I will be playing the role I was hired to play in Reiser’s show, so everyone’s happy.