News

Ozark Renewed: Jason Bateman on Show's Success, Season 2, and an Arrested Development Update

Netflix crime drama's executive producer and star certainly doesn't mind those Breaking Bad comparisons.

by | August 15, 2017 | Comments

Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony honoring Jason Bateman (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Netflix announced Tuesday that it has renewed its popular new crime drama Ozark for a second season. Star Jason Bateman spoke to Rotten Tomatoes about the surprise hit series and season 5 of Arrested Development, which just went into production last week and acts as the second part of what he sees as a three-part story arc for the Bluths — with a sixth season as its conclusion.

Ozark, which many fan have compared to award-winning drama series Breaking Bad, tells the story of Marty Byrde (Bateman) and his family, who trade the skyline of Chicago for the shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks in southern Missouri to provide cover for a money laundering scheme he is forced into by a drug cartel.

Bateman is “so glad it all came together so well,” especially because he is involved in so many aspects of making the series.

“The acting stuff is a very, very comfortable thing for me to do, and it allows me to stay open and aware of all the other points in the process,” Bateman said. “It just gives me a great seat to observe all those things too, having such great proximity to the actors and being able to affect the pacing of a scene — I enjoy that.”


Ozark - Jason Bateman, Julia Garner, Carson Holmes, Marc Menchaca, Christopher James Baker (Jackson Davis/Netflix)

He also revealed that the initial pitch was for him to direct all 10 episodes of season 1, but they just couldn’t make that schedule work.

“We sold it to Netflix, and as we were going into budgeting and scheduling, we discovered we couldn’t create enough time for me to prep all 10 episodes, so I backed off on directing all 10 of them and did just the first two and the last two,” Bateman said. “Ultimately you have to put it all together, stick it in the oven and hope it’s cooked properly.”

Asked if he has gotten a sense of the show’s growing buzz, he said it’s always hard to tell just how popular a show is, especially on a streaming service.

“People on the street will come up and say, ‘Hey, I watched the show and I really like it.’ But those who don’t like it are obviously not stopping me on the street and saying, ‘Hey, your show sucks,’ so I’m hearing 100 percent praise from my little bubble,” Bateman said with a laugh. “But I am hearing from my friends that people are talking to them about it, a lot of people are finding it — at least in Los Angeles, but again, that’s another bubble, so I’m not sure. I’m not sure if middle America is loving and watching and embracing the show, but it seems like it’s getting a warm reception.”

Fans of the show have definitely noticed its similarities to another drama, a little show called Breaking Bad, which won 15 Emmys over the course of its five-season run. “There are worse shows to be compared to,” Bateman joked, but said Ozark is actually taking a different trajectory than Breaking Bad did.

“I’ve only seen the first season of Breaking Bad, and really, really liked it, but my understanding is that character [Bryan Cranston’s Walter White] really starts to lean into the criminal world, and we’re going to make sure that we don’t do that … [my character is] going to be constantly trying to end the show and get back to normalcy,” Bateman revealed. “It’s going to be the writers’ job to come up with legitimate reasons why he can’t end the show, and he has to stay and continue to put out fires.”


Spoiler warning: Skip down to the Arrested Development section if you haven’t watched all of season 1 of Ozark.


Bateman on Season 2: Players May Change, But the Game Remains the Same

Ozark - Jason Bateman, Esai Morales (Jackson Davis/Netflix)

Bateman and the other EPs had definitely talked about what season 2 could look like before the renewal announcement — just because Del (Esai Morales) is dead doesn’t mean the cartel is gone for good, though the local enemies may look very different in season 2.

“Now that Del is gone, the assumption is that another lieutenant would come into town to oversee this larger portion of money that I’m charged to wash,” Bateman said. “The riverboat casino would be able to handle that and then some. And probably that means that Marty’s obstacles are going to take the shape of unions and perhaps some St. Louis or Kansas City mob, which is actually pretty formidable.

“Politicians and bureaucrats and land management and zoning rights and all those kinds of things that take a lot of bribery, coercion,” he continued. “It’ll probably become a little — not white collar, but probably less moonshine and a little more… I don’t know if ‘Chardonnay’ would be the right term, but the criminals might be wearing ties next year as opposed to flannels.”

Bateman also said that Marty and his wife, Wendy (Laura Linney) are going to continue to rebuild their relationship because they finally started to get back on track at the end of the first season.

“They have found a place of unification by the end of the first season, in so far as their ability to try to manage the criminal aspect of their partnership,” Bateman said. “As far as them getting things back on track romantically and domestically, I think that that will continue to grow but probably at a slower rate … maybe there are new avenues of attraction as they build that business part of their relationship. Maybe it’ll grow through a side door there. It’s probably going to get a little worse before it gets better.”

Bateman mused that perhaps instead of an “anti-hero” show, this is an “anti-family” show, because it isn’t just Wendy who knows what Marty is up to; their kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) know as well, which creates an interesting family dynamic.

“The kids know what the parents are doing too, so there’s a strained dynamic there as well. The parents have demolished that idyllic dynamic that kids should have for their parents as these role models that you look up to. There is much more of a peer relationship there with the four of them, and we’ll be exploring that as well,” Bateman said of season 2.


A Three-Season Arc for Arrested Development?

Arrested Development behind the scenes (Sam Urdank/Netflix)

Bateman also talked about the latest season of Arrested Development, which went back into production last week, saying that season 5 is able to follow more of the format of the episodes that aired on Fox, rather than the cast being split up a lot like in season 4, and he urges fans to go back and watch season 4 (again) before season 5 premieres.

“I’ve read the first three scripts, and it all continues to be either all together or paired off in twos and threes, basically the same format as the Fox episodes, so that’s all back on,” he said.

“It is pretty much a direct pick-up from where we left off in season 4, so I would recommend before season 5 starts for people to go back through that fourth season and try to refamiliarize yourself as best you can with that, because the first two episodes of the fifth season basically stitch into the final parts of the fourth season as a sort of a continuation and it kind of zippers the two together, then starting in episode 3, really starts covering all the new ground of this fifth season,” he explained.

Bateman hopes the series gets a sixth season, because it would really bring the new chapter of Bluth family misadventures to a nice conclusion, he said.

“This fifth season is the second act. The fourth season was the first act, the fifth season is the second act, and hopefully, there would be a sixth season that would finish this three-act story that [creator] Mitch Hurwitz came up with after the Fox version of the show was done,” he said.

Ozark season 1 and Arrested Development seasons 1-4 are streaming now on Netflix; Arrested Development season 5 is expected to debut on the streaming service in 2018.


Tag Cloud

El Rey Ovation Shondaland Super Bowl aliens Extras FX Bravo spy thriller sequel Photos Sci-Fi Rock toy story award winner anime war A&E 2016 Spectrum Originals politics facebook Crackle singing competition USA Network witnail FOX crime thriller Nickelodeon Britbox Pirates Warner Bros. Premiere Dates romance dc TCA vampires harry potter Mary Tyler Moore mutant green book cinemax Musical Emmy Nominations Mary poppins HBO 21st Century Fox Cartoon Network doctor who game show Awards adventure The Arrangement Marathons Comedy AMC Valentine's Day Rocketman APB Toys Universal Spring TV OWN dramedy Film Festival supernatural YouTube Premium hist Song of Ice and Fire science fiction Podcast TV Land Horror RT History crime true crime Summer TruTV 2018 medical drama political drama Tarantino Starz VICE comic GoT ESPN zombie MCU blaxploitation First Look nature President period drama MTV Year in Review DGA WGN Anna Paquin technology Sundance Emmys American Society of Cinematographers cults Ellie Kemper CNN diversity 2017 2019 sitcom IFC Films Countdown cats Dark Horse Comics 20th Century Fox ABC Family WarnerMedia Box Office transformers Reality Fall TV Tomatazos biography spider-man E3 Writers Guild of America Interview mockumentary Red Carpet TV Western television NBC LGBT Marvel Logo Captain marvel Ghostbusters ratings E! Esquire Martial Arts BBC America Disney Channel 24 frames space Comedy Central GLAAD Opinion DC streaming service Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Watching Series San Diego Comic-Con Nominations Reality Competition RT21 Infographic theme song ITV CBS Mudbound Tumblr SXSW Sneak Peek Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm Paramount Network sports The Witch FXX History Quiz Columbia Pictures composers Holidays justice league Schedule BBC Character Guide what to watch Trailer Polls and Games 45 Winter TV streaming New York Comic Con Epix historical drama Fox News Paramount TCM Mary Poppins Returns CBS All Access TIFF IFC Kids & Family Election SundanceTV Video Games SDCC disaster Brie Larson zombies festivals dceu robots cops TLC richard e. Grant Superheroe Thanksgiving Apple Food Network PaleyFest discovery crossover National Geographic HBO Max YouTube Red Grammys thriller 007 ABC Amazon Prime GIFs See It Skip It psychological thriller strong female leads Biopics Superheroes Showtime Star Wars MSNBC Vudu BET TCA 2017 miniseries TBS Trivia Sony Pictures Black Mirror CW Seed Awards Tour Animation Set visit Action Fantasy Spike travel spinoff Pride Month Oscars crime drama Creative Arts Emmys cooking Shudder Disney Teen Certified Fresh natural history USA TNT comiccon The CW Heroines Masterpiece jamie lee curtis Amazon Sundance Now social media golden globes LGBTQ Acorn TV DC Universe Best and Worst binge Rom-Com Cannes DC Comics boxoffice Pet Sematary adaptation Pop animated Winners zero dark thirty NYCC Christmas Musicals Lionsgate Adult Swim PBS Freeform finale Trophy Talk Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Country Comic Book talk show Syfy Comics on TV X-Men Calendar VH1 police drama Nat Geo Pixar anthology 2015 Cosplay Elton John Women's History Month Mystery teaser Mindy Kaling elevated horror Netflix docudrama casting Lifetime serial killer DirecTV Drama Music YA Hulu Star Trek unscripted Chernobyl based on movie Stephen King Rocky CMT psycho dragons