Jason Bateman's Directorial Debut Bad Words Acquired By Focus Features At TIFF

By Nick Venable 2013-09-07 21:08:08discussion comments
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With a sizable number of highly talked about releases such as Steve McQueenís 12 Years a Slave and Jason Reitmanís Labor Day hitting the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, It was somehow a trash mouth comedy that comes away with the first huge sale of the festival. Bad Words, the directorial debut for comedic actor extraordinaire Jason Bateman has been snatched up by Focus Features for a cool $7 million, according to Deadline. That huge payment grants them worldwide rights to the film, which was produced by Darko Entertainment, MXN, and Batemanís Aggregate Films. A 2014 theatrical release is being planned. Nothing but good words to say about that.

Admittedly, I was rather wary when the film was first announced, as it sounds like a flakey throwaway comedy. But the comedy reportedly received a riotous response when it made its worldwide premiere Friday night, and it sparked an all-night bidding war between distributors. If thatís not a sign that the film will be better than the average comedy, I donít know what is.

Beyond being Batemanís first film, itís also the first produced screenplay for Andrew Dodge, who saw the script hit The Black List in 2011 before it got picked up. While it seems like the Golden Globe winning actor would have honed his directing skills on the cult series Arrested Development, he only helmed one episode, and only one episode of the awful series Do Not Disturb after that. But it sounds like Bad Words is just the first movie in what could be a lucrative new career turn for Bateman.

In Bad Words, Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a forty-something-year-old man who takes advantage of a loophole in the rules of the National Spelling Bee, and joins the competition to fill a void in his life. As you can imagine, he easily outspells the pants off of the pre-pubescent children heís competing against, but eventually forms a bond with 10-year-old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand) that will probably lead to his demise. It doesnít seem like this film can really go in that many different directions. Kathryn Hahn will play a reporter who takes on Trilbyís story. The talented cast is rounded out with Rachael Harris (The Hangover), Allison Janney (Touchy Feely), Philip Baker Hall (Magnolia), Judith Hoag (Nashville), Ben Falcone (Bridesmaids), and Beth Grant (The Mindy Project).

Itís hard to imagine when Bateman will have time to promote Bad Words, as heís currently filming Shawn Levyís dysfunctional family comedy This is Where I Leave You, and is already set to reprise his role for Horrible Bosses 2. Heís also got some < href=http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Jason-Bateman-Lend-His-Voice-Film-From-Director-Tangled-37368.html>voicework lined up for a new film by Tangled director Byron Howard. And then of course there is always talk about a fifth season or a movie version of Arrested Development to think about. This is the millennium of Bateman. Millennium. M-i-l-l-e-n-n-i-u-m. Millennium.
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