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Jason Bateman: First Time-Director, Toronto Hit

September 09, 2013

Actors making their first stab at directing are mainstays at festivals, often never heard from again. That is not the case for Jason Bateman.

Over the weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, Bateman premiered his spelling bee comedy "Bad Words," a foul-mouthed R-rated riot. Just hours after it had festivalgoers roaring with laughter, it was picked up for distribution by Focus Features, with Universal Pictures distributing internationally.

"It was exactly what I would have scripted," says Bateman. "It was pretty surreal to see such a long dream come true."

Bateman's career has already undergone several evolutions, from child star to an "Arrested Development"-powered comeback. His next chapter, he hopes, will be as a director.

"I want to be able not to act," Bateman said in an interview. "My ambition is true."

The film, from a script by first-time screenwriter Andrew Dodge, is about a 40-year-old man (Bateman) who enters a national spelling bee with uncertain motives for sabotaging the children's contest. For Bateman, so often the mild-mannered straight man in the middle of chaotic stories, it's a cathartic shift into a darker comic personality. Read More

2013 TIFF - Jason Bateman Portrait Session