Jason Bateman opened up about an uncomfortable conversation he had with his daughter while visiting Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday.
“I can’t come back and forth as much as I want to and even if they came out and stayed with me, I’m gone for 12 hours a day,” he said about the difficulty of spending time with his family while filming Netflix’s Ozark in Georgia.
Bateman explained that he planned to take each of his daughters to Georgia for a week while filming. He decided to take 11-year-old Frannie for the first week and six-year-old Maple a few weeks later. After his wife showed hesitance about the arrangement, Bateman said, “Let me try it out first with the 11-year-old. She’d probably withstand any sort of damage, you know.”
“I will warn any children that are under 11 should probably turn the TV off now,” said Bateman before diving into his story. “So Frannie and I are excited. We’re going. We’re packed.”
“So we’re in the back of the car and we’re going to the airport and she seems pretty happy, pretty pleased. And I’m pretty pleased and things are going real well. We’re only five minutes into it, but so far so good,” he said.
Bateman recalled discussing the Easter egg hunt his family participated in the day before on the car ride. “I said, ‘Honey, wasn’t that great. That Easter egg hunt yesterday over at such and such’s house?'” he said. “I don’t know what the heck to talk about.”
“And she says, ‘Yeah, I did OK on the eggs. Daddy, but here’s what I don’t understand. Bunnies don’t lay eggs, right?’ And I’m like, ‘That’s true.’ And she said, ‘So I’m having a hard time putting a couple things together here,'” he said. After asking her what the problem was, she asked her father to confirm that the Easter Bunny is not real. “I don’t know what you’re saying to me,” he responded to his daughter.
“She’s asking me if the Easter Bunny is real and I’m starting to panic and I said, ‘I’m pretty sure that’s real, honey. What do you mean?’ She goes, ‘I don’t think it’s real and I don’t want you to lie to me right now cause there’s a few kids in my class that say that it’s not real and I don’t want to be an idiot,'” he recalled.
After Frannie pointed out that her dad was struggling during the conversation, she requested that he pinky promise to her that the Easter Bunny is real. “I said, ‘Baby, come on.’ I said, ‘I don’t lie to you. We don’t need to do a pinky promise. Easter Egg Bunny’s real.'”
While he attempted to distract her by stating that they were almost to the airport, Frannie would not let go of the topic. “She puts out her pinky, so she made me do the pinky promise and I said, ‘The Easter Egg Bunny is not real.’ I can’t lie to the kid. I can’t break the pinky promise,” he said. “She goes, ‘All right. That makes sense.'”
Frannie then used the topic to transition into her questions about the Tooth Fairy. “So now I’m in a blackout and I’m sweating. I catch eyes with the driver. He’s in the rearview mirror and he’s just shaking his head thinking, ‘This poor bastard,'” he said.
“She says, ‘How does the Tooth Fairy carry my tooth and put $20 underneath my pillow?’ I said, ‘I bet the Tooth Fairy didn’t have change the other night,'” he said. Frannie then asked her father to pinky promise about the Tooth Fairy’s existence, to which he told her the truth.
“So there’s some quietness and I’m just praying and I’m praying and then she brings the noise,” he said. “And she says, ‘I want you to talk to me about Santa Claus.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to talk about this anymore.’ So she puts the pinky out again, I drop the bomb on Santa.”
Bateman then texted his wife to let her know about the conversation with Frannie. “And she fires back a text in all caps telling me what a disgrace I am as an actor. She’s saying, ‘That’s an 11-year-old single member audience. You’re a professional liar and you can’t get through this?'”