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Published:July 5th, 2011 14:49 EST

Jason Bateman is the Hot Summer Ticket

By H.B. Forman

Jason Bateman has one of those like-able boy-next-door faces that we have come to look forward to seeing on the small screen since his turn as a child and teen actor in Little House on the Prairie, Silver Spoons, Valerie, Valerie`s Family, and the Hogan Family.

But just when he thought that maybe Hollywood wasn`t the ideal place for the rest of his career, he landed a plum role in the comedy Arrested Development, (from 2004-2006). Next came major awards, major film offers, and other acting, writing, directing and producing opportunities headed his way. Bateman won a Golden Globe Award for his TV work and the shoe earned an Emmy nomination and two Screen Actor`s Guild nominations.

Recently, he starred in Up in the Air with George Clooney, The Switch with Jennifer Aniston, and Hancock with Will Smith.

Now Bateman, 42, is starring in two summer blockbusters, a body-switch movie The Change Up, with Ryan Reynolds, and the edgy buddy comedy Horrible Bosses, with Charlie Day (It`s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live).

Rounding out the cast of this NewLine/Warner Bros. black comedy is Jennifer Aniston, as one of three menacing bosses (Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell play the other two,) making the lives of their works as close to hell as possible. The much-anticipated movie, which opens on Friday, July 8, is an homage to several films, including Ruthless People, It`s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Strangers on a Train.

The premise of the movie is that most people can identify with having a "horrible boss" at some point in their life, someone who made their work live miserable. It is also tempting to fantasize about it what would life be like if they were out of the way. This movie is the story of three guys who decide to do something about it, but things go terribly awry from the first moment they begin to formulate their inept plan.

Why did you pick this movie - Horrible Bosses?

Jason Bateman: The writing really sold me. I just loved it. And it was an opportunity to hang out with these guys.

This is a big summer for you with not one but two big movies.

JB: True, and I am enjoying the ride.

Did you see this as a modern day Three Stooges? There was more and more slapping as the film went on, the director says.

JB: As far as the Stooges are concerned, I think we knew that the three of us were going to create one character and that`s how the conversations went with the director, Seth Gordon, in rehearsals. That will be constantly rotating to be create one guy. And Seth shot it all in three shots for the most part, and you could watch which ever one you wanted to have it all balanced out.

Is there a lot of improv in this movie?

JB: Less improv than you would think. Improv for me is when the cameras just start rolling and we don`t know where we are going and we are just wasting people`s time and money. That`s not what happened. A lot of people, a lot of time, all three writers laid out a tremendous framework and at the end of the day the three of us we would talk about a scene and developed different rhythms. Try to make it lively and quick discussions.
How did Jennifer Aniston change in the years you worked with her on The Break Up, the Switch and now this movie?

JB: She didn`t change at all, even with all her success. She is the same as always - classy, graceful, funny, lovely, a true professional all around.

This movie looks like the three of you got along really well.

JB: Yes, they are really great, really funny guys. What can I say? We were just hanging out for three months and having a blast.

Speaking of work, do you remember you first job?

JB: Sure. I made an educational video, when I was about 10. It was a movie from a short story by Ray Bradbury. Little House on the Prairie came soon after.

Let`s be honest, this movie is pretty raunchy.

JB: That is one of our R-Rated spikes right there.

Are these same types of roles that you do so well continuing to find you?

JB: You do get hired for the same sort of work, which is fine. I haven`t had the luxury of drastically different roles coming my way. Up until then I will continue to take these great opportunities.

I heard you were surprised that so many people hated their bosses.

JB: True. That is very true. They are all sort of coming out of the woodwork and talking about it.

You`ve got Kevin Spacey as your boss in this movie. He is sort of well known for sadistic characters and he played one of the great evil bosses in Swimming with Sharks. How scary does he get in this?

JB: He is very intense about what he does. It is certainly perfect for this character. He is one of the best we got.

But his character does get pretty evil.

JB: Yes, I would agree that he does.

And he tortures you.

JB: Hmm...verbally!

And mentally?

JB: Yeah. He actually commits a crime in this film. So he is definitely horrible.

How do you see this buddy movie?

JB: We are best friends and we sort of commiserate with one another about our tough situations. We may be brighter than our bosses, but we are not bright enough to avoid the main plot, which is to think that we can get away with killing our bosses. We kind of come up with that plan with the help of an equally non-bright guy named Dean MF (Motherfucker) Jones, played by Jamie Foxx. We go about trying to kill these three people and the script is constructed in a pretty hilarious, non-conventional, kind of unpredictable way. And even though it stays pretty linear and it is a pretty easy watch, it never gets boring.

What else do you see about this movie?

JB: We somehow find a sort of safe harbor in the notion that we are all going to die one day so why not just a little bit earlier because it will be for the greater good? We are sort of checking out and trying out the idea for size, and the ball starts rolling a little bit faster than we could control.

Did you or your co-stars ruin a take by laughing?

JB: I know I have. I think Jamie got all of us too. Jamie Foxx just killed it. He did a great, great job.

Can you talk a little bit more about the character Motherfucker Jones, played by Jamie Foxx, and what he is all about?

JB: He is a guy that we contact to help us out with murdering three people. We go down to a shady area looking for a shady person and he says that he can help us out. So, you know, we broker a deal and we take his advice.

How did you decide to star in Horrible Bosses?

JB: There weren`t a lot of questions from me. I loved it and wanted to be a part of it. It was just a question of trying to work out some dates and we were done. It was really simple.

Is there anything kind of debate about which role you wanted because of which specific boss you wanted to be torturing you?

JB: The bosses [Jennifer Aniston, Colin Ferrell and Kevin Spacey] came on after [the three actors] did.

How much time do you have for your family?

JB: I work a lot, but you have to make time for those you care about. There was a time before Arrested Development when work was slow and I worried. But you have to think about what matters and good friends and a close family is definitely a priority. It has always been that way for me.

I`m sure you are tired of getting asked about it, but is there any news regarding the plans for the Arrested Development movie?

JB: I have no new news to report. I think Mitch [Hurwitz] last answer was that it is happening and he is working on it, but that it is going a bit slower than it would if there wasn`t the show with Arnett happening right now that he is doing. I think once he gets that going he says that he will go over and continue writing the feature script I think. If it all works out, I will be there in a heart-beat.