Jason Bateman: “Directing is the job I would most like to do”

Bateman's plan -- do what you're expected until you've earned enough respect to do something unexpected

It would be easy to assume that Jason Bateman just wants to act in R-rated comedies since he’s appeared in two this summer, Horrible Bosses and The Change-Up.  But in an interview with the Northwest Indiana Times, Bateman makes it clear that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Woody Allen, and Ben Stiller and step behind the camera to direct.  Until then though, he doesn’t mind being typecast in comedy roles.

Curiously, the interviewer points out that Bateman’s characters in the two summer movies are both overachieving types, and Bateman doesn’t seem to have much a problem chalking it up to typecasting based on his past starring role on TV’s Arrested Development, saying “those are the parts that people think of me for ever since Arrested Development, because that is basically the type of character I played there and that was certainly a career restart for me, a re-identification of who I am and the kind of thing that I do, the kind of humor that I do. So, understandably, those are the kind of roles that come my way. But the more chances I get to play characters like Mitch in The Change-Up and if people like that character and the movie is well received, maybe I’ll start getting roles that are a little more left of center, a little more obtuse, and any actor loves to mix it up.”
Bateman’s plan — do what you’re expected until you’ve earned enough respect to do something unexpected — follows the path of many film comedians before him, and it’s obvious that Bateman intends to do that with his hopes to transition to the director’s chair (he’s already directed several television episodes, including one for Arrested Development).

When asked what he preferred of the many hats he has worn in the industry (actor, writer, and director), Bateman says it’s definitely directing, explaining, “Writing, that’s super hard but is very gratifying when you finish. Acting I find the simplest, probably just because I’ve been doing it a long time and it’s very gratifying. But, really, 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.”

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