“Arrested Development” is finally making its way back before cameras thanks to Netflix, so that means that the cast will be too busy for other projects in the near future, right? Wrong. Jason Bateman is planning on taking the lead role in the Andrew Dodge’s 2011 Black Listed indie comedy “Bad Words.” He’ll play a bitter thirtysomething (despite being 43) who exploits a loophole to enter a kids' spelling bee. Not content with simply starring in the film though, Bateman has lined this up to be his debut feature as a director.
Bateman first tried his hand at directing way back in 1989 on his sitcom “Valerie.” He’s since directed episodes of six other shows including the excellent “Afternoon Delight” episode of "Arrested Development." As well as acting and directing, Bateman will also serve as a producer through his fledgling company Aggregate Films (who are also bringing Seth Gordon’s “Identity Thief” to the big screen along with Darko Entertainment.)
Bateman’s move into directing shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise – he was fairly vocal about wanting to make the move behind the camera while doing press for “The Change-Up” last year. Here’s what he had to say to The Associated Press at the time:
“Directing is the job I would most like to do because it would allow me to exercise all the things that I've learned all these years. It's just ultimately much, much more challenging and I'm at a place in my life where I'm just very eager to challenge myself more. I'm not feeling lazy or lethargic or that I want to wind things down. I'm more ambitious than I've ever been and feel more excited to contribute creatively than I ever have. Directing is definitely the position you want to fill on the set if you want to contribute fully."
“We're flirting with a few [projects] but it's a tough thing to schedule. It's almost like trying to schedule doing a play. You have to commit way out in advance and that commitment is usually about a 12-month commitment. I'm a very, very lucky boy right now that I'm getting invites to participate in projects as an actor from some people that I respect and admire greatly, so it's tough to pick and choose and to block out the time to do the directing, although there's nothing I'd rather do. So don't be surprised if I disappear for 12 months and go off and direct something.”
So it looks as if Bateman has found that project and blocked out some time for “Bad Words” in his schedule. He’s currently filming "Identity Thief" and then obviously has those ten episodes of "Arrested Development" to shoot later this year, and we’d imagine he’ll get around to shooting his debut feature shortly after that. Who knows whether Bateman will be as successful at crafting laughs from behind the camera as he is in front of it, but it’s encouraging to hear that he’s ambitious and passionate about directing. And providing the film is something of a success (and taking on a Black List script probably won’t harm his chances) it doesn’t sound like this will be the only time Bateman directs. Plus with him also starring in the film we’re happy that Bateman won’t completely disappear from our screens as he had suggested. [Variety]