×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: Jason Bateman Speaks With ‘Bad Words’

Jason Bateman wants “Bad Words” to be his calling card for major studios.

The 43-year-old actor’s dark comedy — his directorial debut — premieres Friday in Toronto. The indie, produced by Bateman’s 18-month-old Aggregate Films with Darko and MXN Entertainment, was shot over 29 days at the end of the year in Los Angeles with the Sportsman’s Lodge in the San Fernando Valley serving as the location for the national spelling bee final.

“We shot five and six pages a day, so we had to hustle,” said Bateman, who aims to work in the same dark humor vein as Judd Apatow, Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell and Ben Stiller.

Bad Words,” which cost under $10 million, stars Bateman as a foul-mouthed high-school dropout who enters a national children’s spelling bee through a registration loophole.

“This is sort of the ‘Bad Santa’ of spelling bees,” Bateman said.

Bateman’s credits go back to “Little House on the Prairie” in 1981, with features starting with 1987’s “Teen Wolf Too.”

The thesp-turned-director is quick to credit Andrew Dodge’s Black List script and his former agent Dan Aloni, who found the the script. “Andrew Dodge is the story editor at Sony so it’s as if the professor has finally written a script,” he said.

“I’ve always thought of Toronto as a real filmmakers’ festival,” said Bateman, who was at TIFF for “Juno” and “Up in the Air.” “Filmmaking and moviemaking can co-exist — Soderbergh does that with ‘Out of Sight’ and the ‘Ocean’s’ films, which are very sophisticated yet commercial.”

More Film

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners

    Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear

    Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” about a young Israeli man in Paris who has turned his back on his native country, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to François Ozon’s French drama “By the Grace of God,” a fact-based account of the Catholic Church [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Lego Movie 2' to Lead President's Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” is holding a slim lead ahead of “Lego Movie 2’s” second frame with an estimated four-day take of $29.1 million from 3,790 North American locations. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” meanwhile, is heading for about $25 million for a domestic tally of around $66 million. The two films lead the pack [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content