Jason Bateman is a familiar presence on the big and small screens, which makes sense, since his acting debut, on Little House on the Prairie, came in 1981, when he was just 12 years old. As a director, though, he’s just getting started: Bad Words is the first film with Bateman in the director’s chair. (He also stars in the film).
“The first time that I was exposed to what the directing process can look like and feel like was on pretty much my first gig, Little House on the Prairie. I’d watch Michael Landon do what he did [directing episodes] and also have this camaraderie that exists on the set and still get a robust day accomplished. There doesn’t need to be screaming and yelling; there can be this camaraderie among director, crew, cast.
“I also started to dream about the position of director when my dad was showing me movies. He was a journeyman director, and growing up, he would always take me to the movie theater instead of to the park to play ball. He’d tell me what it was to make a movie; and what was a good one, what was a bad one, and why.”
Asked about the directors who inspire him, Bateman says, “Directors who inspire me and whom I admire include Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman and Alexander Payne, to name a few. I am a fan of any film where the director’s specificity is a character in the movie — not as a distraction, but for the film to be dependent on the director doing something more than pointing the camera and turning up the lights.
So what was it about this film that made Bateman want to direct as well as take a starring role? “There is a tone and an aesthetic that was necessary in Bad Words for the subject matter to be interesting and the comedy to surface, and that directing challenge was attractive to me.”
Discussing the directing experience, Bateman says, “My favorite aspect of directing was having the privilege to collaborate with and at times lead a group of highly qualified professionals through the process of creating a world and going 360 degrees with it every day. It’s very involved and demands a lot of work, and I felt fortunate to be given that kind of responsibility. I truly embraced the entire Bad Words experience from start to finish.”
Bad Words is available starting July 8 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2014 Universal Studios All Rights Reserved
© 2014 A Focus Features Release Credit: Focus Features