Jason Bateman: Extracting Fun From The Workplace Perhaps best known for his work on the Fox TV show Arrested Development, Jason Bateman discusses his upcoming role as the boss at a vanilla extract company in Mike Judge's new the workplace comedy Extract.
NPR logo

Jason Bateman: Extracting Fun From The Workplace

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/112243888/112243887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Jason Bateman: Extracting Fun From The Workplace

Jason Bateman: Extracting Fun From The Workplace

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/112243888/112243887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The TV series "Arrested Development" gave viewers and the movie industry a new appreciation of the series' star, Jason Bateman. Since the series ended in 2006, Bateman has had major roles in "Hancock," "Juno" and "State of Play." He stars in the comedy "Extract," which opens Labor Day weekend.

Yesterday we heard from the director Mike Judge. Bateman plays the owner of a small factory making flavor extracts. His employees are eccentric losers and he's trying to sell the factory. He has to stay so late at work, by the time he gets home, his wife is too tired to make love.

He wants to have an affair but doesn't want to hurt his wife, so his friend, a bartender played by Ben Affleck, who describes himself as an entrepreneur, spiritualist and healer, makes this brilliant suggestion, Bateman should hire a gigolo to clean the pool and seduce his wife then she won't have the moral high ground when Bateman has an affair.

After Affleck gives Bateman a Xanax that turns out to be a horse tranquilizer, Bateman agrees to the crazy plan. The young, attractive, and brainless gigolo is supposed to show up once at Bateman's home. Bateman is shocked to see he made a second appearance. In this scene, he calls the gigolo to find out why.

(Soundbite of movie, "Extract)

Mr. DUSTIN MILLIGAN (Actor): (As Brad) Hello.

Mr. JASON BATEMAN (Actor): (As Joel) Yeah. Is this Brad?

Mr. MILLIGAN: (As Brad): Yeah.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Joel) What were you doing at my house today?

Mr. MILLIGAN: (As Brad): Oh, uh, nothing.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Joel) Bull (bleep).

Mr. MILLIGAN: (As Brad): Look, don't worry about it, dude. I won't charge you for this one.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Joel) You had sex with my wife again?

Mr. MILLIGAN: (As Brad): Well, I figured we already did it once, so what's the big deal, right? Besides, I'm not gonna charge you.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Joel) You're not gonna charge - you are gonna charge me and I am gonna pay you because you are not gonna have sex with my wife for free, all right? Now listen, if I ever catch you anywhere near my house ever again, it's not gonna be great, all right?

GROSS: That's a threat.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: Jason Bateman, welcome to FRESH AIR.

You play beleaguered very well. In this movie everyone around you is a little crazy and you're constantly beleaguered and you're going a little crazy yourself. Do you like doing beleaguered?

Mr. BATEMAN: Yeah. I mean, I guess there's nothing really funny about somebody who can handle everything, so I try to find some of the flaws, and holes, and cracks, and vulnerabilities in characters. I mean usually the characters that are funniest to me are those that think they've got a lot more on the ball than they actually do. So this guy, I didn't have to search too far to find his flaws.

GROSS: Did you get any interesting direction from Mike Judge who has worked with actors but also has done a lot of animated work and is really familiar with voice work because of the actors that do the characters for his animations?

Mr. BATEMAN: My experience with Mike was completely effortless. He, you know he's not a micromanager at all, he's got a very specific eye, and I think that he sort of, he really stays out of people's way and encourages them to do what he's hired them to do.

GROSS: I want to talk about a film that you made before "Extract" and it's "State of Play," which is based on a BBC television series, like a miniseries. In this movie, Ben Affleck plays a congressman whose mistress is murdered. Russell Crowe is the investigative journalist who finds that the murder is connected to political and corporate foul play, and you're a publicist that may be implicated too.

And in this scene the journalist, Russell Crowe has taken you to a motel room where he's interviewing you, more like interrogating you, and he's secretly videotaping it. You're refusing to give up any information.

(Soundbite of movie "State of Play")

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) Compensate me okay?

Mr. RUSSELL CROWE (Actor): (As Cal McAffrey) Okay. So you want to be paid to help solve Sonia's murder.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) Save it all right. I'm NPR. I know a little bit about phrasing questions, so why don't you try phrasing it like this? Would I like to be paid for helping you get a book deal?

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) Nobody's here for a book deal.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) Really? Everybody wants a book deal. And I'd like my cut okay? That's just fair.

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) Where did you meet Sonia?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) Compensation. Compensation.

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) You came here to talk, Dominic.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) You know, mouse, I'm the talent and I don't like the vibe, so why don't you change that up, okay?

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) It's a nonsmoking room.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) Under your name.

GROSS: Okay, and then later in the scene, in this part of the interrogation you're trying to be the one in control. But a little further down the line you have lost control. Russell Crowe has broken you and you're starting to confess everything that's happened.

(Soundbite of movie "State of Play")

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) And so I get a call. I gotta go down to a street corner. I gotta buy a magazine. I gotta meet some new guy. This guy, you know, he's some hardcore thick-neck corn-fed Navy Seal looking guy you know? And he's all up in my face scaring the hell out of me because he's pissed off and...

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey)�When was this?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) This is like a month ago. You know he's pissed off because Sonia's not giving him anything anymore.

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) And what did he want you to do about it?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) He wants me to fix it. He wants me to fix it like one of my hair dryers.

Mr. CROWE: (As Cal McAffrey) And did you?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) I tried. I tried. I called. She wouldn't take my call. I go over there. I try to talk to her. She's crying.

Unidentified Woman: (As character) Why is she crying? She's scared, somebody's after her?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Dominic Foy) No she's crying because of Collins. She was in love with him and she was pregnant. And she didn't tell him. She didn't tell him and, you know, she was petrified that he's gonna find out what she did, and then he's not gonna want her and he's not gonna love the baby, and she, she was got so wrecked about it that she burned thousands of dollars worth of paychecks.

Who does that? And I tried to get her to just relax and to think about the publicity or think about an abortion or think about, you know the words just keep your word. What about, well how your decisions are gonna affect me? And then she's dead, you know? I hear it's a murder. And so I don't want anything more to do with this thing, you know? I'm just terrified and I want to go someplace warm and I want to come back to a clean slate, and you guys write your article and just get them off me. I'm nothing. I'm nothing to those guys.

GROSS: Oh, you are so broken by the end of that scene.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: I just love watching that, in that movie how you went from like the arrogant sleazy publicist to somebody who's just really like lost and broken. Can you talk a little bit about shooting that and the, like, you know, emotional change you have to put yourself through?

Mr. BATEMAN: Well, it was a really great part to play and, you know, he was a, I guess a fetish club promoter. He was bisexual. He was an Oxycontin addict. It was, you know, it was everything that you would want in a character.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: You know, it certainly wasn't boring, so I was lucky that they went with me for that because I'm certainly not known for stuff like that, at least not in my public life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: The weekends are another story. But the, you know, getting to sort of that I guess that emotional place at the end was, you know, a result of the script, the story, and also the fact that, you know, he's popping pills throughout sequence and he's drinking. And so, I don't know. I was really, really, really happy with it.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Jason Bateman and he's starring in the new movie "Extract," a comedy which opens Labor Day weekend.

Let's take a short break here and then we'll be back and we'll talk some more.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Jason Bateman and he's starring in the new comedy "Extract." It opens Labor Day weekend. What are your very first memories of being directed?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: The story that pops into my head is it was "Little House on the Prairie" was one of my first sort of big gigs. And when I was 10 or 11 I was on that for a year. And one of the first few episodes that I had to do, I got shot. I walked in on a bank being robbed. And I remember reading that in the script and thinking, wow, I get to get shot by a gun and fall to the ground.

And so, that day came around to shoot that scene, no pun intended, and Michael Landon was directing that episode as he did often. And so he yells action and I run into the bank and the gun goes off, bang, bang, and I threw my body against the wall so hard...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: ...and slid down the wall and sort of you know shook a little bit...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: ...on the ground as the last bits of life came out of my body.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And I just thought that, oh my gosh, as my eyes were closed and just trying to stay still and not look like I was still breathing. I thought to myself, man, did you nail that. Boy, did you do a good job?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And then I, I just remember...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: I remember just hearing silence and then just a real quiet sort of from Michael Landon, okay let's go ahead and cut the cameras and then he...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And then I opened up one eye and watched him sort of walk over to me and he said go ahead and sit up. And I sat up and he took my hand in his hands. He goes, okay, we're going to start over and I'm going to need you to just fall out of frame. Okay? On the next take?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And just you're going to hear a couple of bangs and I just need you...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: ...to just drop to your knees and the camera doesn't see you when you hit the ground anymore. So it was, it was a little humiliating to say the least, but it was a good first very gentle sort of - not chastising - but, you know, sometimes it's best not to do too much acting you know?

GROSS: Also early in "Little House on the Prairie" you had to watch your parents get killed as their stagecoach overturns and rolls down a hill leaving you orphaned.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: And...

Mr. BATEMAN: You sound like a fan. You've seen that episode, huh?

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: Did you remember shooting that and what the director told you about how to cry?

Mr. BATEMAN: Yeah.

GROSS: Was that the first time that you had to like cry on demand?

Mr. BATEMAN: Actually to get that part, when I auditioned for that part I had to cry. There's really a seam in this interview.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: I had to cry when I auditioned for Michael Landon and I just remember being really proud of myself that I was able to do that. I think it was the first time I had ever sort of asked myself to cry for no reason, and it's not an easy thing to do. It's become more difficult as I've gotten older, but it was difficult back then when I was 10 or 11.

And so, yes, so in that scene when the parents go over the side of the cliff in the stagecoach, my sister and I, played by Missy Francis, we sort of have to take a few steps towards the camera and we're looking past camera and above camera and we're supposed to be watching the stagecoach tumble down a 300 foot cliff with our parents inside of it, and screaming, and yelling, and making up our own lines, you know. I mean what do you say? No. Mom, dad, no. You know do you yell, you don't yell stop. You don't yell stuff like, you know, hold on or well, you know...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: What do you do? So really, the only thing to do was to sort of cry as hysterically as possible so that I didn't have to make up any lines, and luckily the tears came out. But, yeah, that was tough because obviously we're not looking at a stagecoach. We're looking at, you know lights behind the camera and probably a truck or two or you know, some guy smoking a cigarette and it was, there was some pretty complicated stuff for a 10-year-old to do on that because it was definitely a drama, you know, it wasn't a comedy.

GROSS: Why is it more difficult to cry as an adult actor?

Mr. BATEMAN: Well, I don't know. In my case, my head's just got more traffic in it now. You know, I'm - things are more complicated. I guess the older you get, you've got more stuff to think about. Not the least of which is, well, if you don't cry on this take all those people that are standing behind the camera are going to start rolling their eyes thinking, oh, are we ever going to get to lunch? I mean this; we got to get this guy to cry. I mean come on.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And then, of course, that makes it even more difficult. And so, it's, you know, it's a mess. So I don't know. Although some years it's easier and so it's like the almanac, you know that...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: ...some years it's the rainy years and some years, you know, the crops don't grow. But this year, I've managed to cry a couple times in some stuff. And I don't know, maybe it's because I lost a dog or maybe I'm just becoming softie, but this year was good for the tears.

GROSS: Not to dwell on "Little House on the Prairie," but I want our listeners to hear you as a young actor. And we happen to have a clip from "Little House on the Prairie."

So this is when you're about 10 or 11. And in this scene, you've already been adopted by, you know, Michael Landon because your parents were killed. And so your older brother has - you've taken his razor without his permission and you've broken it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: So you've actually stolen another one and you're trying to pass it off as his in this scene.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: So here's Jason Bateman at around the age of 10 in "Little House on the Prairie."

Mr. BATEMAN: And I'll sound like a little girl in this, yes? Just like I'm some girl?

GROSS: Well, kind of.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: A little bit.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of TV show, Little House on the Prairie)

Mr. BATEMAN: (As James Cooper Ingalls) Hey, Albert, I found your razor.

Mr. MATTHEW LABORTEAUX (Actor): (As Albert Quinn Ingalls) What?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As James Cooper Ingalls) Yeah, I moved the wind box a little, and there it was.

Mr. LABORTEAUX: (As Albert Quinn Ingalls) Thanks.

Mr. MICHAEL LANDON (Actor): (As Charles Ingalls) And what did I tell you? I knew it would turn up.

Mr. LABORTEAUX: (As Albert Quinn Ingalls) I thought it was gone for sure. I'm sorry for thinking you took it, James. I just didn't...

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LABORTEAUX: (As Albert Quinn Ingalls) This isn't mine.

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) What are you talking about? Of course it's yours.

Mr. LABORTEAUX: (As Albert Quinn Ingalls) No, it isn't. I had a bad nick on the blade. I had to be careful with it. Look for yourself.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) This is a brand new razor.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) Where'd you get it, James?

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) James, I asked you a question. Where did you get this razor?

Mr. BATEMAN: (As James Cooper Ingalls) I didn't mean it, Pa.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BATEMAN: (As James Cooper Ingalls) I broke Albert's razor by mistake. I wanted to make it right. But...

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) James, where did you get this razor? I want an answer now.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BATEMAN: (As James Cooper Ingalls) From the mercantile.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) You stole it.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. LANDON: (As Charles Ingalls) Get up to your room. Get ready for bed. Go on, now.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: A little of that high drama music...

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: ...behind the scene.

Mr. BATEMAN: If that doesn't make you cry...

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BATEMAN: ...some nice little music swell, that'll get it done every time. Then, of course, I had to go upstairs, get ready for bed, which is code for get ready to get a beat down.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: Mr. Ingalls loved the spanking.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: You know, I think a lot of actors and performers, people who are very famous go through that - their - this confusion of whether people like them for who they are in their public lives, like their character, or who they are in real life. Did you go through that because you started acting so young?

Mr. BATEMAN: Well, I - not that specifically. But it was certainly challenging growing up. There was - I was either ostracized in, you know, junior high and elementary school for being a weirdo actor, or there was jealousy, or there was just you're not one of us, or - you know, its tough enough, but when you're only spending half the year in the classroom and they're seeing you on television and then you show up, you know, midway through the year, it's not comfortable at all. So that wasn't great. And as far as trying to decipher, you know, legitimate and genuine, you know, when people really want to be with you and hang out with you or whether they just want to hang out with you because you might be pseudo-famous, I don't know. I sort of just banked on my own ability to read people's sincerity. That's that never really bothered me.

Plus, I've never really been - you know, I mean, I'm not Brad Pitt for God's sakes, you know. I'm just - I make a living, and I've got - you know, some people know me, but I'm - I get down the street just fine. No one bothers me.

GROSS: You know, one of the problems a lot of child actors face is that they have - they're successful when they're young. They get a series, and then it ends. And no one wants to hire them for roles after that. They become the answer to trivia questions, and they end up - who knows? I mean, because unless they're in the tabloids, we don't know where they end up. Were you worried that that would happen to you, that the career that you always wanted since you were 10 would end when you were a teenager, and then you move onto something that was less interesting for you?

Mr. BATEMAN: Yeah, less interesting, less exciting, didn't pay as much money. Yeah. That that was a very, very, very clear and present danger throughout my entire childhood, and again, another reason never to get your kid into it, because you sort of end up buying the confidence and the attitude that you really need to be renting. And it's a very tenuous position. It's a very fickle business. And to think that it's going to last forever is naive at best. So - and that certainly was the case with me. You know, I've acted pretty consistently for 30 years now. And even with that, there were some very painful, confusing, you know, dry periods. And you don't know when or if you're ever going to come out of it.

And like I said earlier, you - there's only so much you can do to regenerate that relevance in the industry. And it's frustrating because it always is just one job away. So you kind of also have to be in the constant ready position. You can never let that emotional investment atrophy. You have to be ready, literally, for the phone to ring, because the following day could be a big audition. And if you've let yourself sort of reenter normalcy, you're going to then find yourself at that audition and have a bit of a panic because wait, what am I doing? I'm auditioning for a movie. And I'm not a movie actor.

You know, you have to sort of stay in a position of - not entitlement, but you just have to be ready. And you could go years and years and years without getting that job. So, as you can imagine, it's a very frustrating position to be in. And fortunately, right now, I'm in a position where my ambition is matched with my level of access right now. And that's rare.

GROSS: My guest is Jason Bateman. More after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Jason Bateman. He stars in the new movie Extract. His recent films include Hancock, Juno and State of Play. He starred in the TV series Arrested Development.

I want to play a scene from Arrested Development. And this is a scene in which your son, played by Michael Cera, has a crush on his ethics teacher. And at a parents-teachers night...

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: ...you've met the teacher, you've hit it off and she has just spent the night with you. So here you are, with your son...

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: ...played by Michael Cera, the next morning.

(Soundbite of TV show, Arrested Development)

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Hey, George Michael. I wanted to talk to you about something before, but I didn't know if it was real. But now your ethics teacher...

Mr. MICHAEL CERA (Actor): (As George Michael Bluth) Yeah, I just made this for her.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Oh.

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) Yeah, she loves Saddam Hussein.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) I'm sure she doesn't love Saddam. I'm sure she's interested in him as a subject, you know.

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) Right. That's what I meant.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Great.

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) You know, I just wanted to make her something special to show that I care.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) About the class?

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) No, I mean about her.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Oh...

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) I kind of love her.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) You mean you love her like she loves Saddam, right?

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael Bluth) No, no. I mean, like, love her, love her.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Oh.

(Soundbite of door opening)

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Oh.

Ms. HEATHER GRAHAM (Actor) (As Beth Baerly): Oh, hi. Hi, George Michael. I was just looking at this model home. I'm going to go home and think about it. I'm going to go home, think about it.

Mr. CERA: (As George Michael) Dad, what was she doing here? I mean, she wasn't...

(Soundbite of door slamming)

Mr. HOWARD (Narrator): Michael knew he had an ethical responsibility to tell his son the truth.

Mr. BATEMAN: (As Michael Bluth) Yes. Your Uncle Gob slept with her.

GROSS: Says my guest Jason Bateman and Michael Cera in a scene from Arrested Development. I think it's fair to say that Arrested Development changed your career, changed the direction of your career.

Mr. BATEMAN: Yeah.

GROSS: What was your audition scene?

Mr. BATEMAN: I don't know, but what I do remember is reading the script and guessing - obviously, I guessed right about what Mitch Hurwitz needed from that character, which is, you know, someone that would really sort of ground all the eccentric characters that satellite around the character that I played, which was, you know, sort of the bland sort of center of the show, kind of the, you know, the chicken breast on which you throw all this - all these saucy characters.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: And I remember him following me out of the audition room afterwards, and he said hey, hey. That was a great, great job in there. Now, you're auditioning for that other pilot that I'm producing tomorrow, right? Because he was producing a few different pilots that year. And I said, yeah. Yeah. He said, yeah, but this one, right? This show, right? You like this show, maybe, better? Did you like this script better? I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He said, yeah. He said, don't come in for that pilot tomorrow for that other show. I said okay. And, so I guess what he was trying to do was not show that other network and that other group of creators me, because he wanted to save me for Arrested Development.

Now, I could have, of course, still gone in on that show the following day, and that show was a show that really had a much, much better chance of getting on the air. It was a more traditional, multi-camera, you know, sitcom in front of a live audience. And this show, Arrested Development was - as anyone who's ever seen the pilot, at least - was very left-of-center to say the least, and probably wasn't going to make it on. But it was something that was more consistent with my comedic sensibilities and blah, blah, blah. So, I'm glad that at that fork, I chose something that was a bit more consistent with my - I don't know, pardon the term passion - as opposed to, you know, making a buck. And it's paid off quite nicely.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Jason Bateman, and he's starring in the new movie Extract, which opens Labor Day weekend. It's a comedy. I should mention here - your wife is the daughter of Paul Anka. Did you know Paul Anka's records when you met her?

Mr. BATEMAN: No. I mean, I didn't know his records. I knew that he was the man behind some very, very famous songs, you know, Put Your Head on My Shoulder and, you know, Puppy Love and My Way and all that stuff. So, I certainly knew what I was dealing with. But did I have his albums? No.

GROSS: Did he perform at your wedding?

Mr. BATEMAN: Yeah, he did. He did perform in our wedding. He took the song, My Way and he changed the words to, I think, his way, basically singing to me about what I was planning to do with and for his daughter and what he hoped that I didn't do with and for his daughter, I think, as I recall. I was in a bit of blackout.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BATEMAN: It was a bit nerve-wracking that day.

GROSS: Was the song funny?

Mr. BATEMAN: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, he's, you know, he's an incredible performer. He's - I think he started right about the same time I did. So, he's been doing it even longer and has got some very useful advice for me whenever I get the courage to ask him.

GROSS: Well, Jason Bateman, great to talk with you. Thank you so much.

Mr. BATEMAN: Thank you very much.

GROSS: Jason Bateman stars in the comedy, Extract, which opens Labor Day Weekend. His forthcoming films include Up in the Air, which premiers next month at the Toronto Film Festival and Couples Retreat, which opens in October. His film State of Play comes out on DVD next week.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.