Belfast Telegraph

Jason Bateman: Netflix series Ozark is most intense work of my career

He is moving away from comedy in the new drama.

Arrested Development star Jason Bateman has said the workload for his new Netflix show was “bigger and more intense” than anything he has previously done.

The actor stars in, directs and executive produces dark thriller Ozark, in which he plays a money manager who gets into business with the wrong people.

It’s a dramatically different prospect to the comedy series that made him famous, Arrested Development, which will return for a fifth series in 2018.

He told the Press Association: “It’s nice in the difference of work because Ozark is drama and Arrested is comedy.

“My workload on Ozark was bigger and more intense than anything I have ever done while Arrested Development, you could argue, is the easiest thing I do because the people are so great and the writing is so easy and perfectly done and the character is someone I’m very used to, so it’s opposite ends of the spectrum.”

But he added it is not a deliberate move to step away from comedies such as Horrible Bosses, The Switch and Couples Retreat.

“I’m not making a conscious decision to move into or away from anything but I do know that I enjoy the challenge of directing, I like that it’s a position that asks me to use what I’ve learned in all these years of acting, I’m more interested in creating an experience for an audience, as opposed to tricking them into thinking I’m somebody else.”

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Bateman as Marty (Tina Rowden/Netflix)

Bateman took on the role of Marty Byrd in Ozark on the condition he would also direct four of the episodes, which book-end the series.

While his voiceover in the first episode speaks about disillusion with the American dream, Bateman said he did not have political motivations, or even see the contemporary relevance until afterwards.

He said: “I didn’t really have a political or ideological agenda with it, it really was about reading the scripts and visualising what the camera would be doing, what the music would be doing, who the actors were, it was more about that.

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Bateman also directed four episodes of the drama (Jackson Davis/Netflix)

“But there is a relevant accessible theme to it, but I’m not bright enough to incorporate that into my decision making.”

He added: “We were shooting this when Trump got elected and I didn’t really realise there would be as much increased relevance with him coming into office but certainly there is now.

“You could say the same thing about Arrested Development, there were some parallels to the Bushes that the writers put in for our family but now that the Trumps are in there it’s even more relevant and people are going to draw even more parallels.

“A lot of that is coincidental but I guess they did something right when they picked the world to go into because it’s a bit of an evergreen theme in America, this overreaching and cheating a little bit to get your piece of the American dream, it’s something that is definitely relatable.”

Ozark is streaming on Netflix now.

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From Belfast Telegraph