10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Netflix Lands Jason Bateman Drama 'Ozark'
Netflix is expanding its relationship with Jason Bateman and Media Rights Capital.
The streaming service is near a deal to pick up Bateman's drama Ozark, which hails from the producers of House of Cards, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Netflix declined to comment.
From MRC and Bateman's Aggregate, Ozark is set in the world of drug-money laundering and takes its name from the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Bateman will direct, exec produce and star as a family man who moves from the city to the Lake of the Ozarks to begin repaying the money-laundering debt he owes to a ruthless drug lord.
The series was created by Bill Dubuque (The Judge), who is onboard as writer and exec producer alongside Bateman and Mark Williams. Bateman will also direct on the series, following his two big-screen directorial efforts, Bad Words and The Family Fang, in addition to his TV experience behind the camera. Chris Mundy (Low Winter Sun) will serve as showrunner.
Ozark follows MRC's model of going straight to series and shopping the project as a completed package. The company's credits include House of Cards — which put Netflix on the map with scripted originals — and Starz's Patrick Stewart-Seth MacFarlane comedy Blunt Talk as well as the premium cabler's upcoming The One Percent and Counterpart.
The pact also serves as a reunion for Bateman and Netflix, where he recently reprised his leading role on Arrested Development. Ozark marks a return to the small screen for the actor-producer, who has been more focused on feature films for the past decade. Dubuque's star is on the rise with the forthcoming Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant and the Chris Pratt vehicle The Real McCoy.
For Netflix, the series comes as the streaming giant is concentrating on investing an impressive $5 billion on original programming in the coming year. Ozark joins a roster of originals at Netflix that include the Gilmore Girls revival, upcoming dramas Mind Hunter, Gypsy, Black Mirror, The Get Down, The OA, Stranger Calls and The Crown as well as returning series House of Cards, Marco Polo, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Narcos and more.
Production on Ozark is expected to begin in the spring in New York and Vancouver.