‘Ozark’ Star Jason Bateman Talks Playing Dual Role of Director and Lead

by Leanne Stahulak
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“Ozark” star Jason Bateman is no stranger to juggling multiple hats on a film or television set, from actor to director to producer.

He does all three, in fact, for the hit Netflix series. Out of the 44 episodes of “Ozark,” Bateman’s directed 10 of them, produced 30, and starred in 40. Earlier this week, Bateman opened up to The Guardian about what it’s like to balance these roles on set.

“It’s more efficient for me to be playing a character in something because that’s one less person I need to direct,” he told the outlet. “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.”

Bateman clearly has a vision in mind when he directs and does what he can as an actor to produce that. Normally, Bateman directs the first two episodes of each “Ozark” season. Unfortunately, with COVID restrictions, he couldn’t do that for the most recent fourth season. Though it doesn’t look like any cast member’s performances suffered for it.

While Bateman’s directing strategy might sound a bit off, he said it’s preferable to someone who “screams” on set. “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. 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.”

What Can We Expect From the Final Seven ‘Ozark’ Episodes?

On Friday, Jan. 21, the first seven episodes of “Ozark” Season 4 dropped on Netflix. While we’re not quite sure when the final seven will drop, showrunner Chris Mundy did tease a bit about what to expect from the finale. He told The Hollywood Reporter that fans, thankfully, won’t have to worry about an incomplete story.

“I always want closure. I don’t want to feel messed with,” Mundy revealed. “I want to feel like, ‘OK, that was the end.’ So hopefully people will feel closure by the end — whether they like it or not, I don’t know.”

Mundy also opened up about the tone of the “Ozark” finale, which promises to be emotional.

“In terms of tone, we’re going deeper into the family and their bonds,” Mundy said. “Is family the ultimate bond? Is friendship? Is marriage? At what point is it almost unhealthy to stay, even if you love somebody? We’re going to delve into that with Marty and Wendy. Hopefully, the back half will still be fun and exciting, but also really emotional for the Byrdes and Ruth.”

Stay tuned for more updates on “Ozark” Season 4 Part 2.

Outsider.com