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Michael Cera says returning to Arrested Development character not easy

Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth from the original production of Arrested Development in 2005.

Joseph Viles/FOX

Michael Cera says it wasn't that easy returning to his old role as George-Michael Bluth for the Arrested Development reboot.

The Canuck comic admits his first day back on set started with "five uncomfortable hours" where he struggled to reconnect with his awkward alter ego.

It's been seven years since the beloved comedy went off the air, but the dysfunctional Bluth family returns later this month with 15 new episodes on Netflix.

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Cera was in Toronto to discuss the long-awaited return and says it's surreal to be discussing the sitcom's rebirth.

All 15 of the new episodes debut May 26 on Netflix.

The first day back on set was strange, Cera admits, noting that he was just a teenager when he first took on the role of the earnest George-Michael.

"It was about five uncomfortable hours of shooting this one scene where I was like, 'I don't know what I'm doing here,' " Cera said Thursday during a round of interviews at a downtown hotel.

"And after that I felt like, 'okay, I remember how to do it now.' "

Cera said his first day was largely spent with star Jason Bateman, whom he credits with establishing the comedy's quirky tone in the first place.

"My first few scenes were just with Jason, which was enormously helpful for me, just finding the voice of the show again. Because he had it, basically, right away," he says.

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"Jason was a huge part of finding the rhythm of the show in the first place, I would say, just the pace was really a lot of him, I think. The writing was so tight and I think his way of translating that was by just breezing through the jokes, and not hanging on them and just flying through it. And so doing a scene with him reminded me of just how sharp you need to be in a scene and keep up with it and be ahead of the joke."

Each new episode is centred on a particular Bluth, with several other characters popping in and out in their own parallel storylines.

Cera says the episodes work together to trace a cohesive story arc, but also refer to each other in a complicated web that will demand repeated viewing.

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