Jason Bateman on Playing a Nasty Character in ‘Bad Words’ and Why He’ll Never Push His Kids to Act

  • Pin It

bad-words-poster
Being that he has grown up on television, it’s difficult to dislike Jason Bateman as an actor. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to exploit that affinity. In his first film as a director, Bad Words, Bateman plays a genius-level scumbag named Guy Tribly who uses his ability as a flawless proofreader — and the fact that he is an eighth grade dropout — to mow down young teens in national spelling bees. He spoke to NPR about playing such an awful character, how as a director he tried to keep himself balanced, and why he won’t allow his kids to become child actors like he was.

Bateman points out that he has some experience working with characters that are extremely unlikable. He says, “That was the formula on Arrested Development. That was what the show’s creator said to all of us in the cast. And that’s a stimulating challenge, to say nasty things but somehow behave in such a way, or capture a certain look in camera that shows some vulnerability in the character, or some ignorance, as opposed to hatred.”

He compares Tribly to Archie Bunker on All In the Family — a character that was openly a bigot, but was somehow endearing in his wrongfulness. Bateman explains, “I wanted to take on that challenge, and just as a director, build an atmosphere, an environment, a tone around this character and the other characters, where these type of flawed people would naturally exist.”

In order to find that balance, Bateman had to consider how to present the character in the most effective manner. He reveals, “I didn’t have a certain set of written rules about what this guy had been through, and his back story. I was just nimble about when and where he would be mature or immature, and so oftentimes it was an arbitrary decision about whether I was going to seem smart or seem dumb, or seem scared or seem vulnerable. That’s the fun of acting for me, as opposed to deciding exactly how you’re going to play each scene the night before, practicing your faces in the mirror, learning your lines.”

Nonetheless, despite Bateman’s success in acting for nearly his entire life, he confesses that he will not push his kids into acting because unlike other jobs it isn’t about how hard you work. He explains, “I wouldn’t only because it is a profession that you can’t really help yourself in. In most professions, if you stay at the office an extra four hours every day, you’re gonna impress the boss, you’re gonna get that promotion, you’re gonna get that raise, you’re gonna at least have job security. But with acting, if you’re really ambitious and you have a good work ethic, and are really good at your job, it might not really matter.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-al-pacino-talks-the-humbli.jpg
Watch: Al Pacino Talks ‘The Humbling’ and His Extraordinary Career
In this conversation with Al Pacino talks about his role in The Humbling -- including working with Greta Gerwig -- and his historic acting career
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-oscar-nominee-steve-carell.jpg
Watch: Oscar Nominee Steve Carell Talks Improv, Auditioning for ‘The Office’ and ‘Foxcatcher’
Carell talks about his entire career as an actor, including his background in improv, how he landed the Michael Scott role on The Office, and Foxcatcher
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ethan-hawke-ellar-coltrane-boyhood.jpg
Ethan Hawke Calls ‘Boyhood’ the “most special endeavor of my life”
Ethan Hawke is riding high with his fourth Oscar nomination for the Richard Linklater-directed Boyhood. In a recent “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, the 44-year-old actor gave some thoughtful insight into his career and the 12-year creative endeavor that became the biggest film of the Oscar season. When asked what was the most difficult thing about […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/martha-plimpton-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Martha Plimpton Takes a Refreshing Approach to a Long-Lasting Career
Martha Plimpton is an actress who enjoys the work, she’s not in it for the fame. The proof is in her continually excellent work that she is doing on-screen and on the stage. She’s currently starring in A Delicate Balance on Broadway. It’s the audience who gives her the ultimate thrill. “I try to get […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-michael-keaton-talks-candi.jpg
Watch: Michael Keaton Talks Candidly About His Career and His Approach to Acting in ‘Birdman’
In this nearly 90 minute conversation, Michael Keaton is his usual affable self but is also remarkably candid about his career and his approach to acting.