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Jason Bateman on Extract

Published September 3, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Miramax Films
Extract Poster Extract

The trailers for Extract are all about Jason Bateman trying to smoke pot. He plays the owner of an extract plant who tries to relax with his druggie friend. Bateman actually thinks that is misleading marketing for the movie, so let him explain it better.

Bateman Makes Extract

“I don't know honestly if it sets the table properly for what you expect from the movie,” Bateman said. “I personally feel that the teaser, a guy gets his ball sack blown off and I take a big bong hit. I mean, it makes you think that you’re about to see something that is a bit more of sort of the recent comedies that have been out as opposed to stuff that is more consistent with Mike [Judge]’s sense of humor and comedic tone, which is a bit more muted. Those two moments in the teaser are a bit sort of high concept and a bit broad.”

Most of the humor in Extract comes from Mike Judge’s oddball characters and their interaction. “His stuff is much more sort of character based and scenes are very long. There’s a lot of conversation and dialogue as opposed to big, comedic set pieces. So I hope it sets the table properly for the audience and that the audience doesn’t go into it thinking it’s going to be a movie full of those kinds of moments because if that’s what they’re expecting, they’re going to walk away from the film and give it what I think would be a false negative, thinking that, ‘Well, it didn’t live up to that.’ So if it were me, I would’ve cut a different trailer or actually cut a trailer and set the groundwork for people to be in the right mood, the right gear for this brand of humor which is a bit more subtle than what the teaser indicates.”

Costars include Ben Affleck as the bad influence friend and J.K. Simmons as the manager who shares complaints with Bateman, the boss. The ensemble largely stuck to Judge’s script.

“I don’t remember any real significant improvising in this movie. We really didn’t need to. Because he doesn’t write a ton of jokes, there’s not a lot of [room]. When a script’s filled with jokes, you can very often pull that joke out and put another one in. He writes character comedy so if you start changing the dialogue, you start changing the character. He writes real well. There’s no need to punch it up or change at all. We’d keep it loose because he likes conversational sort of free flowing type of acting, nonacting, so we would do that but he didn’t need any dumb suggestions for us.”

Bateman has said that his career plan is to play supporting roles to secure a longer life than leading men often have. Playing the lead in Extract doesn’t violate his goals.

“It’s not a risk if Mike Judge is out in front. I’ve got this thin with Jennifer Aniston next year, so that’s a lead but she’s out in front. This Couples Retreat thing, you know, I’m safely at number two underneath Vince. He can carry it. I’m fine with that but I’m not looking to be the star of a movie just to be the star of a movie. I’d love to be the star of the movie if it’s a director’s vehicle like this is, or name it. Any sort of celebrity director, these filmmakers, the Michael Manns or Peter Jacksons or Steven Spielerbergs or whatever it is, then yeah, obviously I’d want to be number one but a lot of times actors will sort of attach themselves to a project and then they’ll just hire whatever director is available to shoot the movie. That’s usually a recipe for disaster, I’ve seen, I’ve read.”

Extract opens to theaters on September 4th.

For the trailer, posters and more movie info, go to the Extract Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Miramax Films

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