Jason Bateman to make directorial debut

Thesp also expected to star in Darko comedy 'Bad Words'

Jason Bateman is in negotiations to make his feature directorial debut with “Bad Words,” an indie comedy that Bateman’s Aggregate Films shingle will produce with Darko Entertainment, which is also financing the pic.

Tyro scribe Andrew Dodge wrote the screenplay, which appeared on the 2011 Black List.

Sources tell Variety that Bateman will likely play the main character, a bitter thirtysomething who uses a loophole in the system to enter a national kids’ spelling bee. Bateman and Mason Novick will produce with Darko’s Sean McKittrick, Ted Hamm and Jeff Culotta.

Bateman and Darko are repped by CAA, which packaged “Bad Words” and is repping pic’s domestic distribution rights.

Bateman first got a taste for directing on the NBC series “Valerie’s Family,” in which he starred. He went on to direct episodes of “Arrested Development” and “Family Matters.” Darko recently produced Bobcat Goldthwait’s dark satire “God Bless America” and John Ridley’s Jimi Hendrix pic “All Is By My Side.”

Dodge, whose comedy script “Crockpot” is in development at Spitfire Pictures, is repped by UTA and Fourth Floor Prods. Bateman is also repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Tom Hoberman.