By Heather Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Jason Bateman is back at the box office with today’s release of “Horrible Bosses.”
How he got there, his signature smile intact, is some kind of incredible journey.
Bateman, who started acting at age 12, already had a healthy résumé when his big break came in 1986. He’d had roles for 21 episodes each on “Little House on the Prairie” and “Silver Spoons.”
But it was the comedy “Valerie” (later known as “Valerie’s Family” and then “The Hogan Family”) that made him a household name. For 110 episodes from 1986-91, Bateman was girl-crazy David Hogan, one of three sons of “super-mom” Valerie.
And he was suddenly a teen heartthrob.
That image was cemented in 1987 when Bateman made his debut on the big screen in the follow-up to Michael J. Fox’s “Teen Wolf.”
But as “The Hogan Family” came to a close, Bateman fell into a lifestyle that is the undoing of so many child actors. Struggling with drug and alcohol abuse through much of the 1990s, his career hit the rocks, with a handful of TV movie roles and series appearances, none of which lasted more than a season.
However, Bateman’s story, unlike that of child actor Corey Haim, has a happy ending.
Sometime around 2000, Bateman realized he needed to leave his partying days behind and step into adulthood. His career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
The resurgence began with a role on the critically acclaimed “Arrested Development” on Fox. For 53 episodes, Bateman portrayed Michael Bluth, the straight arrow in a family of misguided socialites. The turn earned him a number of accolades, including a Golden Globe win in 2005 and numerous nominations.
Unfortunately, as with many series on Fox, the public was late to catch on and the show, despite an Internet campaign to save it, was gone before many knew it existed.
But Bateman would remain a star. In 2007, he played a prospective adoptive father in “Juno” (for which he was somehow not nominated for any awards) and an “accounting mutant” in the children’s film “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” He starred alongside Will Smith in the superhero film “Hancock” in 2008. He went on a “Couples Retreat” in 2009 with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. And in 2010, he starred opposite friend Jennifer Aniston in “The Switch.”
This year, Bateman adds three films to his resume. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg made Bateman a government agent in their alien flick “Paul,” which debuted in January. He’s lorded over by a psycho boss in “Horrible Bosses.” And he’ll switch places with Ryan Reynolds in “The Change-Up” on Aug. 5.
He’ll also reprise his role as Michael Bluth in an “Arrested Development” feature film scheduled for release in 2012.
Bateman’s story could have ended so differently and even tragically many years ago. Had he not made that critical decision to turn his life around we wouldn’t know the joy of watching his comic genius or drinking in his killer smile.
And that, my friends, would be a darn shame.
Cory Edwards, Anderson University alum and “Hoodwinked” co-creator, will reboot his Twitter series “Roger Cosmonkey” later this month. The first installment, a first-of-its-kind attempt to tell a story through Tweets, was imaginative and inspired. Be sure to catch the sequel by following @RealCoryEdwards on Twitter beginning July 25. Retweet to your followers or fear Roger’s wrath!
Contact Heather Bremer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 640-4867.