Jason Bateman may be returning to Netflix…. just not as Michael Bluth.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is in talks to pick up Media Rights Captial’s new drama Ozark. The drama centers around the drug world set in the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Bateman will reportedly pull triple- duty producing, directing and starring in the series as a family man who must pay back a debt to a drug kingpin.
While this may seem like a stark departure from Bateman’s current Netflix series Arrested Development, Ozark fits in with his recent career trajectory. In 2013 he made his feature directorial debut Bad Words, a pitch black comedy where he also played against type as a rude, awful man competing in the National Spelling Bee through an exploited loophole. He followed up with The Family Fang, directing and starring in the film which premiered at the 2015 Torronto International Film Festival. But perhaps most indicative of his darker sensibility was last year’s surprise sleeper hit The Gift. The thriller made interesting use of Bateman’s usual likability by casting him as a seemingly normal everyman whose popularity may or may not be covering up something insidious . Saying anything else about any of these films would be giving too much away, but the point is Ozark will not be Bateman’s first bleak turn.
While promoting his upcoming movie Zootopia (a decidedly not-so-dark Disney animated film about zoo animal cops) Bateman told The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy that he was in on Ozark after reading just the first two scripts, which makes sense when you consider the talent behind the scenes. The series was created by Bill Dubuque, who’s quickly becoming the go- to for star vehicles with 2014’s Robert Downey Jr. drama The Judge along with the upcoming The Accountant (starring Ben Affleck) and The Real McCoy (starring Chris Pratt). Chris Mundy, who’s written for Criminal Minds, Hell on Wheels and Low Winter Sun, will be showrunner.
MRC already has experience producing gritty Netflix dramas a la House of Cards. Jason Bateman’s film production company Aggregate will also be producing Ozark.
The show, which is still in pre- production, joins the roster of projects slated for Netflix as a part of their $5 billion effort to expand their original programming, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Speakeasy also asked Bateman if he’s heard any word on the status of that other Netflix series he’s starring in”No. Nothing,” he told them. Alas, we’ll have to watch reruns while drinking our hot ham water.