Also Credited As:Jason Kent Bateman
|Actor, Director, Producer|
|Jason Kent Bateman on January 14, 1969 in Rye, New York, USA|
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Born in Rye, NY on Jan. 14, 1969, Jason Kent Bateman was the son of Hollywood producer Kent Bateman and the younger brother of actress Justine Bateman. He began acting at the age of 10 as the star of an educational film, which led to several television commercials and ultimately, series work. In 1981, the 12-year-old Bateman scored a recurring role as James Cooper Ingalls, an orphan adopted by Michael Landon's Pa Ingalls, on the long-running "Little House on the Prairie" (NBC, 1974-1983). Bateman's big break, however, came when he was cast as Derek Taylor on "Silver Spoons." Portraying a cute, smooth talking ne'er do-well, Bateman's Derek became wildly popular with audiences, effortlessly stealing scenes from series' star Ricky Schroeder. Despite his popularity, or perhaps because of it, Bateman's character was written out of the show after the second season, allegedly at the insistence of Ricky Schroeder's management.
Not remaining idle for long, Bateman promptly resurfaced in 1984 as the star of his own show, "It's Your Move" (NBC, 1984-85) as Matt Burton, an outwardly angelic 14-year-old who is actually a slick confidence trickster who meets his match in his mother's new boyfriend, Norman Lamb (David Garrison). Their escalating one-upmanship provided the foundation for the short-lived comedy. Made by the same producers who would later create "Married. . .with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997), "It's Your Move" distinguished itself with its surprisingly subversive tone and lack of sentimentality. Though not everyone's cup of tea, the show was unusually well written, with young Bateman's killer smile perfectly complementing his sly line deliveries. After the cancellation of "It's Your Move," Bateman kept busy in a string of guest shots and TV movies.
In 1986, Bateman landed the role of Valerie Harper's eldest son, David Hogan, on the resilient family sitcom "Valerie" - a.k.a. "Valerie's Family," a.k.a. "The Hogan Family" (NBC, 1986-1990; CBS, 1990-91). More naturalistic and less distinctive than his previous sitcom roles, the series provided Bateman with a comfortable, if unremarkable, berth during the bulk of his adolescence. Nevertheless, he distinguished himself during the series run by directing three episodes, becoming the DGA's youngest-ever inducted member at age 18. Less memorable TV-movies and guest shots followed the demise of "The Hogan Family." Bateman made an inauspicious feature debut replacing Michael J. Fox in the film sequel, "Teen Wolf Too" (1987). Produced by his father, Kent Bateman, the film was panned mercilessly by critics, revealing at the end of the day, that Bateman's low-key charm was best served on television at that time in his career. In one of his rare serious roles, he played the brother of real-life older sister, Justine Bateman (best known as Mallory Keaton on "Family Ties") in the well-received telefilm, "Can You Feel Me Dancing?" (NBC, 1986). Also produced by their father, the film told the affecting story of a resourceful blind teen smothered by the attentions of her well-meaning family.
Coming into adulthood, the adult Bateman popped up next on the short-lived sitcom "Simon" (The WB, 1995-96), playing an unemployed MBA and recently divorced older brother of a blessed innocent. The young TV veteran next landed a lead on "Chicago Sons" (NBC, 1996-97), another sitcom about brotherly love. It also had a short shelf life. Displaying his trademark hearty resilience, Bateman quickly rebounded, playing the son of Bob Newhart's character on the CBS sitcom, "George and Leo" (1997-98). While that show effectively demonstrated that Bateman's comedic skills had carried into adulthood, it was cancelled after just one season. The actor had even worse luck with his next show, "Some of My Best Friends" (CBS, 2001), on which he played a gay writer in Greenwich Village who takes in an unsuspecting roommate. Not surprisingly, that show was cancelled after just eight airings.
In 2003, Bateman landed his best role to date and the part that brought him back to the forefront of comedic TV actors. As Michael Bluth, the good son born into a vain and supremely dysfunctional family on the much beloved Ron Howard creation, "Arrested Development" (Fox, 2003-06), Bateman provided the only voice of reason in the eccentric household, populated with such scene-stealers as Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi and Jeffrey Tambor. Low-rated but critically adored, the edgy offering struggled in the Nielsen ratings throughout its first season, but was ultimately renewed, thanks to the support of Fox executives and the outpouring of anger from fans upset that the smart comedy might meet a premature end . Although the ratings failed to significantly improve, the cast was showered with well-deserved praise, particularly Bateman, who ended up winning his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy. Despite all its accolades, however, "Arrested Development" simply could not survive its low ratings. After much back-and-forth between the show's producers and the network, the fast-paced sitcom was finally canceled in 2006. Rumors about the series being picked up by Showtime were dashed when creator Mitch Hurwitz officially called it quits.
Meanwhile, Bateman continued to thrive as a favored supporting player in big screen comedies, including deft turns as a sleazy mob lawyer in "Starsky & Hutch" (2004) and as a sports commentator in "Dodgeball" (2004). Due to his onscreen pairing with Vince Vaughn in the latter, he subsequently gave a fine comic performance in Vaughn's feature film creation, "The Break-Up" (2006), playing a real estate agent refusing to waive his commission on a condo sold to a couple (Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston) going through a bitter split. Bateman followed up with a supporting role in another romantic comedy, "The Ex" (2007), starring Zack Braff and Amanda Peet as a happily married couple whose marital bliss is shattered with the arrival of an old flame (Bateman), a passive-aggressive paraplegic who schemes to get Peet's character back. Bateman earned more buzz that year for his starring role in Jason Reitman's indie favorite "Juno" (2007), in which he played a Bohemian-leaning suburbanite who forms an unusual bond with the pregnant teenager (Ellen Page) whose child he and his wife have agreed to adopt. The offbeat charmer of a film topped critic's "Best of" lists, blew away indie film box office expectations to earn over $200 million dollars, and earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Diablo Cody), Best Director, and Best Actress (Page).
Bateman's legacy with the seemingly eternally mourned "Arrested Development" continued to snare him an onslaught of comedy casting, including a supporting role as the accountant of a magical toy shop in the fantastical misfire "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" (2007) and a PR agent who seeks to rebrand a cynical superhero (Will Smith) in the blockbuster "Hancock" (2008). He had cameos in hit comedies "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) and "Tropic Thunder" (2008) before making a departure from his niche to portray a Mohawk-sporting, drug addicted, fetish club promoter in "State of Play" (2009), a political thriller surrounding the journalistic investigation into a Washington murder starring Russell Crowe. Bateman returned to comedy with Mike Judge's "Extract" (2009), in which he starred as a factory owner enduring a bad run of both professional and personal bad luck, and joined comedy all-stars Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Kristin Davis for the ensemble romantic comedy "Couples Retreat" (2009), about a group therapy endeavor gone awry.
Also that year, Bateman had a supporting role in the film adaptation of Walter Kirn's 2001 novel "Up in the Air" (2009), starring George Clooney as a corporate downsizer obsessed with earning frequent flyer miles. He played Clooney's young boss, who forces him to take an inexperienced employee (Anna Kendrick) on his next round of terminations. The following year, he teamed onscreen with Jennifer Aniston in "The Switch" (2010), playing the best friend and accidental sperm donor to a childless 40-year-old (Aniston). After playing a Secret Service agent in the British sci-fi comedy "Paul" (2011), starring Simon Pegg, Bateman led the ensemble cast of the R-rated comedy "Horrible Bosses" (2011), where he played one of three friends (also Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who plot to kill one another's overbearing and abusive bosses. The movie earned a generally favorable reception from critics and became one of the surprise hits of the year.
Not so well received was his next film, "The Change-Up" (2011), a body swapping comedy where he played an overworked lawyer and father who - after a night of drinking - manages to switch bodies with his best friend (Ryan Reynolds), a single, unemployed man-child with no responsibilities. Though the film fared decently at the box office, most critics were dismissive of the effort. A brief cameo in the barely-seen romantic action-comedy "Hit and Run" (2012) marked just one of the several projects the busy Bateman had on his slate at the time, although there was one endeavor fans had been long been waiting for. Anticipation turned to celebration at the announcement of the resurrection of "Arrested Development" (Netflix, 2013- ) for a fourth season, set to be aired on Netflix's live-streaming application. Returning cast members included Bateman, Will Arnett, Jessica Walter, Portia de Rossi and Jeffrey Tambor, prompting devotees of the dysfunctional Bluth dynasty to once again hold out hope for a feature film adaptation.