With years of experience in the film and television medium, Jason Bateman was bound to direct his own feature. That moment came with Bad Words, an acerbic comedy about a middle aged malcontent named Guy Trilby (Bateman) who enters a spelling bee contest for reasons unknown.
One wise choice of Bateman’s was to cast himself as the lead, as it inevitably helped lower the project’s overall budget. Another excellent movie was his hiring of cinematographer Ken Seng, a DP he met on the set of the drama Disconnect. The pair are also collaborating on Bateman’s next directing effort, The Family Fang.
“I have been very, very lucky to have great experiences,” said Bateman. “And this was the best. So that’s saying a lot. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and I wanted to make sure that I was responsible with picking the right time to do it, as far as knowing enough and making sure it didn’t derail the day job as well.”
“This just seemed liked the right time for that and the right material. I was thrilled that it was as comfortable as it was. It certainly wasn’t easy, and I was glad it wasn’t easy. I was hoping it would be challenging as it was, and it was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. But it called upon everything that I’ve learned and that was a real gift.”
Click on the audio below to hear Bateman talk about the challenges of directing and acting in Bad Words, and he also discusses the spirit of collaboration that was prevalent during production.
Bad Words hits select theaters March 14 and expands across the U.S. on March 21 and March 28.