‘Ozark’ Star Jason Bateman Explains How ‘Little House on Prairie’ Star Michael Landon Inspired Him

by Leanne Stahulak
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“Ozark” star Jason Bateman got his start in the industry very early on, by starring in “Little House on the Prairie” at just 12 years old.

He played James Cooper Ingalls, the second adopted son of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. Bateman starred in 21 episodes of the hit series between 1981 and 1982. During that time, he learned from Michael Landon how to balance multiple roles on a film or television set.

Today, Bateman directs, produces, and stars in “Ozark” and other projects. He told The Guardian earlier this week that he owes his talents to Landon from his time on “Little House on the Prairie.”

“I had a very fortunate first experience. My first big job, Little House on the Prairie, had Michael Landon as the director, actor, producer – and sometimes writer,” Bateman explained. “There’s this theory that you need to scream at people to get them to work their hardest. I saw by example there that the opposite is true.”

Normally, Bateman would direct the first two episodes of each “Ozark” season. But he couldn’t do that for the most recent fourth season due to COVID restrictions. He opened up to The Guardian about his particular style of acting and directing, though.

 “It’s more efficient for me to be playing a character in something because that’s one less person I need to direct,” he said. “I don’t have to have any sort of creative negotiation with that actor. Especially when I’m the lead character, I can just adjust my own performance to motivate a different performance out of the other actor. I can get them to speed up or slow down or trick them by being more emotional.”

‘Ozark’ Showrunner Opens Up about Marty and Wendy Byrde’s Relationship

Now that the first half of “Ozark” Season 4 has dropped on Netflix, the showrunners are also opening up more about the end of the show. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that after five years and four seasons we’ll finally see the end of the Byrde family’s saga.

Showrunner Chris Mundy talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how the relationship between Wendy and Marty Byrde specifically has progressed over time. When asked if there’s even any love between them anymore, Mundy said, “I think they love each other a lot. That doesn’t necessarily mean they should be together or stay together, but I actually think there’s a deep love there. It’s not just history, it’s actually love.”

Mundy also discussed if we as fans should be rooting for the couple anymore after all we’ve seen them do.

“They’ve done terrible things, and they’ve been terrible parents in so many ways. It’s an interesting thing on shows and movies where the heroes are flawed, as these guys are, yet you still want them to succeed,” Mundy shared.

“I would hope that people could disagree about this and feel strongly on both sides. As we were plotting the end of the series, we had this exact argument in the writer’s room,” the “Ozark” showrunner concluded. “Some are like, ‘I’m not cheering for them at all,’ and some were like, ‘Of course, we’re rooting for them — these are our characters.’ It’s a healthy debate even among those of us making the show.”

Outsider.com