As mediocre as Identity Thief is, it didn't cool my appreciation for Jason Bateman. For one thing, his work on Arrested Development was Sofa King good that he'd have to suck for a long time to lose me. For another, I don't think we've seen the full extent of this guy's talent, and, in GQ's April-issue Q&A with Bateman, the actor lets drop that, in addition to a fruitful career as a director, he'd like to have a New York-based talk show down the road.
Here's what he tells GQ writer Brendan Vaughan:
GQ: Jeffrey Tambor [who plays George Bluth in Arrested Development] once compared you to Johnny Carson in the way that you play the straight man but with this dark center. When I read that, it occurred to me that you might be a good talk-show host. Have you ever thought about that?
Jason Bateman: That's interesting, I was just talking about that. Without getting too specific about it, because I can't, I've thought seriously about it as recently as last year. Having just come back from doing a week of talk shows last week [to promote Identity Thief], I was talking to Amanda about, in twenty years—when the girls go to college and we can finally move to New York, which is what I've been wanting to do forever—if television will have me, I would love to do that. Regis retired at what, 80? So in twenty years I'll be 64. To host a talk show then, that would be a fun way to do the last bit.
I like that idea. Bateman is quick-witted and outrageous — when Vaughan requests Hazelnut-flavored Coffee-Mate in his cup of joe, the actor tells him, "I think your vagina's bleeding" — he's thoughtful and, as an actor, he's able to easily shift from funny to serious without grinding his gears. He's also that rare child performer who carved out a successful second act for himself in adulthood, and that tells me he'll be great at interviewing celebrities because he understands the brutality of show business. If he's serious, he'd make a fine talk-show host some day, and NBC will probably be looking for one once it burns through all the talent it currently has.
In the meantime, Bateman is working on his directorial debut, Bad Words, and when Vaughan asks him how he sees his career evolving as a hyphenate, he replies:
"As opposed to Ron Howard's career, which is exclusively directing and producing, no acting, and like [Jon] Favreau's career and Pete Berg's career, where it's mostly directing—I think, more realistically, I'd like it to be more like George Clooney's career or Ben Stiller's career or Ben Affleck's career as far as splitting the time between acting and directing. I'm so... I just vibrate at how excited I am about the complexity of the process, of making a fake world for an audience. It's not a God complex, but that's what directors are doing: They're creating a fake world, and it is four-walled. It's 360 degrees. When a movie is great, you don't notice the effort. It is a real world that you've just watched. There's no better job in the world than directing a film. I'm convinced of it."
Who's bleeding now, Mr. Bateman?
Photo credits: Peggy Sirota/GQ
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