Jason Bateman Press Conference
Can you talk a little about The Kingdom in terms of how it deals with the very real political situation while it’s still an entertaining action movie?
“Yeah. I mean, I would not start talking about politics. I'm just not that smart about it. But it seems to me that the action genre is a genre we all enjoy, and one looks for new and fresh arenas to couch action. And this is certainly a relevant, topical situation. And, why not throw it in that situation? I think that they very successfully navigate the waters of, ‘Let's not be too didactic and let's not, you know, hammer some precious little theme or message at the end.’ I think they touch just enough on perhaps what you could gather from this film without saying, ‘Hey, this is what you must walk with.’
Again, you should speak to somebody smarter than me about that. The bits that I did learn about the situation over there, I appreciate it. We had a great political consultant on it, this guy Rich Klein, that just answered any question that I had, and I've retained a bit of it. But, you know, I have to watch Charlie Rose and brush up on it every once in a while.”
Were there any injuries during some of your more physical moments in The Kingdom?
“I don't think so. I mean, you know, I threw up one day on the set when it was really hot. That was about it. But it's sort of common for us pansy SAG people. No, there want any real injuries on my part. The stunt people were extremely professional and our second unit director and stunt coordinator were amazing.
I've really become a big sort of…I'm kind of awed by these action movies. I saw Bourne Ultimatum the other day and just felt bad that I was able to just drive away from that after two hours and say, ‘Boy, that was a great movie.’ But, I mean, these guys, the amount of work that goes into action sequences. And that one, particularly, from start to finish is all action. I really feel like they can charge more if they want, you know? There's just so much work that goes into it. This one I'm doing now, you know, with Peter Berg again, it's about this superhero and so there's flying and special effects, and things are blowing up. Trains are getting tossed. It's so much work.”
Who are you in Hancock?
“I am a guy that Will Smith saves in the first, kind of like, 10 pages of the film. And then to pay him back, I tell him I'm going to help him revamp his public image because he's persona non grata, because he's a drunk. When he solves crime he creates a lot of collateral damage because he's banging into buildings and landing on cars instead of a sidewalk. And so they don't like him. I'm teaching him how to navigate those waters and be more polite in press conferences. And I've got to get him a little outfit and a cape and everything.”
You're a publicist?
“Basically, yeah, I'm a corporate PR guy. Then he starts making moves on my wife, which is Charlize Theron. And so there's this sort of this weird dark love triangle. It's very, very Pete Berg. But it's this gigantic Sony movie that I'm just so sort of fortunate to have this great seat to watch because it's this flotilla of trucks and effects. I'm a lucky boy.”
You seem to be having this career resurgence where you've redefined yourself. How does it feel this time around with it? How do you feel about acting, about celebrity, about work?
“It feels really lucky, you know? Not a lot of people get a second chance. I think for a while there my name kind of got in my way a bit, based on all of the television I was fortunate enough to do. But after a while you sort of wear out your welcome in that genre, in that medium. And multi-camera was atrophying and single camera was coming up, and no one wants a multi-camera guy in a single camera show so then I was really screwed.
I was very surprised to get a reading for Arrested Development because it really seemed to be the opposite of that which I was known for doing. And, fortunately, I guessed right on that day in the audition room, you know, as far as what they wanted from a character, and they ended up giving me that part.
Not a lot of people in America were watching the show but the people here in LA were and they were some people that were in charge of giving out some good jobs. So I've kind of been able to hit the reset button a little bit on who I am, and what people think of when they hear my name – I hope, I think. And a lot of that goes to your hirability. It has less and less to do with your talent, I think. And I don't mean to sound cynical but a big part of being hired is what you add or detract from the project, as far as pedigree goes, and that show was very well-received. So I'm just trying to take the good roles that are coming my way and try to perpetuate that level of whatever it is, and try to get another few years of employment out of this tough town.”