How he went from Goofball to Gangster

Jason Bateman has had an incredibly successful career. Its typical role, however, has evolved significantly over the past 40 years. It’s quite interesting, for example, how the actor – best known for his comedic roles – ended up playing manipulative money launderer Marty Byrde in ozark.

Bateman started acting at just twelve years old on the television show, little house on the prairie. He then moved on to small film and TV roles here and there (mostly in comedies and sitcoms) until he landed a starring role in the late 1980s sitcom, Valerie [later renamed The Hogan Family]. This role on Valerie as David Hogan – a girl-crazed teenager – really cemented Bateman as a comedic actor.

Although Bateman’s breakthrough role – the one that made him “famous” – came nearly a decade later Valerie finished. He came in the form of the character Michael Bluth from the sitcom, Development stopped. Bateman excelled as Bluth; so much so that he won a Golden Globe for his performance.

However, Bluth’s character – a dry, uptight, judgmental (but somehow lovable) guy – has kind of allowed Bateman to be typecast over the years. In fairness, Bateman’s respective characters in Development stopped, Extract, Breaking, couple retreat, Horrible bosses, The change up to, identity thief, Office Christmas Party and Game Night are very similar, if not the exact same character, just with different names and backgrounds.

Bateman in one of his early roles as David Hogan’s Valerie. Image credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

That’s not to say that all of these movies aren’t enjoyable; they are. And Bateman is equally enjoyable in all of them, as he plays this deadpan but anal type of character to perfection. But Bateman can also play other characters exceptionally well.

Watch her character Pepper Brooks in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story or Mark Loring in Juno; while both of these films are comedies, Pepper and Mark are very different from the usual characters Bateman plays – and Bateman is still excellent.

Although he played some roles – like Pepper and Mark – that showed his range, Bateman was very aware that he was typecast in comedies. That’s why the actor took on the role of Marty Byrde in ozark. To prove he has other abilities as an actor; and, oh boy, did he pull it off.

Bateman, despite being a terrific actor with a serious range, has been typecast over the years. Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Bateman was nominated three times for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmy Awards for playing Marty to universal critical acclaim.

Although surprisingly, while Bateman has acted in his fair share of comedies – and is best known as a comedic actor – ozark wasn’t his first foray into drama. Bateman did a great job in both State of play and Gift – movies where Bateman got to play darker, more serious roles.

However, since he wasn’t in either film, Bateman never received the accolades he deserved. Luckily he gets them now because of ozark; although we are really disappointed that ozark is over and we will never see Bateman again as Marty.

Only time will tell if Bateman slips back into his classic role or if he’ll go on to star in other dramas. Either way, we’re sure he’ll pull it off, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

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