Jason Bateman loves working on sitcoms, and he’ll freely admit it. And why not? He’s grown up on them – whether they be recognizable series, short-lived, or personal favorites, Jason Bateman knows what works for him. He had a taste of Hollywood since childhood, as his father Kent was a producer and director in his own right, and his sister Justine (Mallory from “Family Ties”) inherited the entertaining bug as well.
By the age of 12, Jason was on “Little House on the Prairie” starring the late Michael Landon for about a year. This experience paved the way for his romance with sitcoms, beginning with his recurring appearance on the Ricky Schroder hit “Silver Spoons.” As Derek Taylor, Jason was given a more three-dimensional character than the show’s regulars and Bateman savored the smart-ass precocity, which would become a staple of his early screen persona. He was even given his own show, “It’s Your Move,” which lasted a mere 10 episodes, but it was as David Hogan on “Valerie” (later renamed “The Hogan Family”) in which Jason’s talent really emerged, directing three episodes of the show – the Director’s Guild of America’s youngest director of all time. He was 18.
Riding high in 1987, Jason roared onto screen in “Teen Wolf Too,” produced by his father Kent. The movie flopped, and with the end of “The Hogan Family” in 1991, it marked a new era for Bateman. The 90s were nothing like the previous decade for the still young actor – how could it be, since in some circles it’s been called The Bateman Years, at least in the realm of television family comedies. He guest starred on fleeting, forgettable shows and closed the decade as Jesse Travis in “Love Stinks,” a film directed by a “Full House” contributing writer, director, and theme song composer called Jeff Franklin.
It certainly was a “Rude Awakening” for Jason (the name of yet another ubiquitous series he guest starred on in 2000). His career had stalled, and with the embarrassment of “Some of My Best Friends,” the 2001 CBS sitcom that lasted just 8 episodes, it seemed the once unbeatable combination of television sitcoms and Jason Bateman had run its course. Still, he found love when he married Amanda Anka in 2001, did some big screen work on “Starsky & Hutch” and “Dodgeball,” and returned to glorious, critical acclaim with “Arrested Development” in 2003. In 2005, Jason won a Golden Globe for his work as Michael Bluth – the olive branch of peace between years of roaming the deserts of cancellations and finally finding his way back home. And while FOX canceled the show in its third season, “Arrested Development” was the chief component in the resurrection of Jason’s career. Lately, he’s found the big screen is treating him better than his “Teen Wolf Too” days, with roles in “The Break-Up,” “Smokin’ Aces,” “The Ex,” and “The Kingdom.” Through the crazy path of Jason Kent Bateman, we have to admire his perseverance and dedication to keeping the television sitcom alive. And as long as Jason’s around, rest assured there’s a sitcom out there he’ll be on, giving it all with that same smirk he first flashed as Derek Taylor on “Silver Spoons.”
Jason on the Web
Jason’s comprehensive movie database page.
TV Guide: Jason Bateman
Photos, bio, and news of Jason.
Detailed, extensive biography among other things.
The Jason Bateman Fan Site
Current fan site with an “Arrested Development” emphasis.
Jason Bateman Online
Dedicated fan site centering on the early work of Jason.
Jason on doing his part in “The Kingdom.”
Jason reflects on how “Arrested Development” changed his career path.
USA Weekend Magazine Interview
Jason on re-inventing his career.
Jason on the Screen
The fascinating trajectory of Jason Bateman begins as James Cooper Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie.” He’s Addison Cromwell in the 1984 Gary Coleman vehicle “The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins,” and before that, Jason would appear as Derek Taylor on 21 episodes of “Silver Spoons” as Ricky Schroder’s friend. He’s Doug Wanwright on an episode of “Knight Rider,” Matthew Burton on the short-lived “It’s Your Move,” teams with sister Justine in the TV movie “Can You Feel Me Dancing?,” and is Tom Scotti in the 1987 pseudo-“Psycho” TV movie sequel “Bates Motel.” He’s David Hogan for 105 episodes on “Valerie” and “The Hogan Family,” and he’s Tony Howard in “Teen Wolf Too.
He’s part of the troupe in the football comedy “Necessary Roughness” in 1991, and spends the early part of that decade popping up in TV movies like “This Can’t Be Love” and “Hart to Hart: Secrets of the Hart.” In the 2000s, after the merciful cancellation of “Some of My Best Friends,” Jason made quite a return to his 80s heyday: he’s Roger Donahue in “The Sweetest Thing” with Cameron Diaz, Kevin in “Starsky & Hutch,” commentator Pepper Brooks in “Dodgeball,” and most impressively, Michael Bluth on “Arrested Development.” More recently, the actor has appeared in such films as "Juno," "Hancock," "Couples Retreat," "Paul" and "Horrible Bosses."
On his look:
“I’m a 34 waist, 32 inseam which is not a good look. You kind of want your legs to be longer than your waist circumference.”
On his true calling:
“I just love doing sitcoms. I'd be in them till I was gray if they'd have me.”