Jason Bateman on Directorial Debut 'Bad Words': 'It Was the Greatest Experience of My Life'

Bad Words Premiere Bateman Hahn - H 2014
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Bad Words Premiere Bateman Hahn - H 2014

At the Los Angeles premiere, Bateman was joined by stars Kathryn Hahn and Rohan Chand.

Jason Bateman celebrated his directorial debut Bad Words at the Los Angeles premiere at the ArcLight Cinemas on Wednesday night.

Bateman, who also stars as the main character, Guy Trilby, in the crude comedy, was joined by stars Kathryn Hahn and Rohan Chand at the Hollywood premiere.

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“It was the greatest experience of my life, and I have had a lot of very good experiences,” Bateman told The Hollywood Reporter. “I have a lot of very good experiences and I’m very fortunate to be able to say that, but this one was the top.”

Although Bateman noted his fond memories while on-set, he also shared that the film brought challenges. “Pre-production and post-production were new experiences for me. I’ve never been exposed to pre-production or post-production, so there were a lot of things I learned there and [I’m sure] plenty in the future.”

Bateman plays a bitter 40-year-old seeking to win The Golden Quill national spelling bee against 8th graders when he discovers a loophole in the rules. Journalist Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) follows his journey throughout the competition and attempts to discover the truth behind his competitive nature, while 8th grade loner and spelling bee champion Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) seeks Guy’s friendship during the spelling bee competition weekend.

Hahn, who graced the carpet in a knee-length strapless black dress, noted that working with Bateman was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“He’s a gem. I love him as a person and a human. I would follow him to the ends of the earth and I love working with him,” said the actress. “It’s really an honor to say I was in his first feature. And I also want to take a bullhorn to all the actors I know and be like, you have to work with him because he’s such a ball as a director. ”

On the contrary, Chand said Bateman’s role as actor and director in the same feature film took some getting used to. “At first, it was a bit weird, but he was a child actor and he knew how I would like to be treated,” said the nine-year-old actor. ”I really respect that about him. ”

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Screenwriter Andrew Dodge said the film was based on his own adolescent experiences. “I was in debate in high school and it was a similar world, of the world of spelling bees, and that combined with seeing the documentary Spellbound,” he told THR. “You know, as I was watching it I was remarking to myself that these kids were just a bunch of weirdos, but at the same time I was one of those weirdos. I was just like them when I was in debate, and it came down to me deciding what would be funnier? There’s nothing that would be funnier if adult me was picking on younger me. ”

Bad Words opens in select theaters on March 14 and will be released nationwide on March 21 and March 28 via Focus Features.