Jason Bateman Talks 'True Detective' Inspiration at 'Ozark' Premiere

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Jason Bateman and Laura Linney

The actor-turned-director and co-star Laura Linney were joined by Cary Fukunaga and Netflix's Cindy Holland for the New York premiere.

Ozark star, director and executive producer Jason Bateman kicked off the premiere of his Netflix series on Thursday with a bang: He was late thanks to his scheduled appearance on The Late Show.

Bateman apologized for his delay and doled out thank-yous, saving the last for his wife, Amanda Anka, for "allow[ing] me to take a nice, big swan dive into my pool of narcissism" with his duties on the show.          

Now streaming its first 10 episodes, the drama centers on Marty Byrde (Bateman), a financial planner who also launders money for a Mexican drug cartel. To save himself from execution after his partner skims $8 million, Byrde uproots his unfaithful wife, Wendy (Laura Linney), and their children to Missouri's isolated haven for Midwestern tourists — the Lake of the Ozarks — to recoup the cash (and then some).

Six days before he's set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Bateman relayed the directing advice he received from one of his friends. "Cary Fukunaga is somebody who bit off a huge thing with [season one of] True Detective," he began. "His aesthetic, his taste, his technique is something that I really admire, and I tried to learn a lot from him."

Bateman oversaw four episodes of Ozark but had originally intended to follow Fukunaga's example and direct every installment. Then he learned "that was just really tough on everyone, including him, and [Fukunaga] recommended that I maybe try to direct less."

Returning to television four years after concluding her Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning run on Showtime's The Big C, Linney said that today “if you want to work in a certain way — and if you want to make a living — it's [in] television." She added that film isn't what it used to be, saying, "I mean for character-driven actors, there's not a lot film-wise."

Netflix earned her particular praise for "being so generous with letting artists be artists and then letting people do what they know how to do. It's been a wonderful, wonderful place to be."

When asked how many seasons he envisions for Ozark on Netflix, showrunner Chris Mundy said, "We've always talked about five," adding, "Four would be fine, six would probably be fine, but it's always felt like that's a good number to tell the story."

Meanwhile, lead actress Linney fancies even more, thanks to the people involved and camaraderie on set: "I'd be very happy with eight."

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