He’s been in nearly everything, and this American actor, director and producer is still bringing in the hits on the silver and the golden screen. Jason Bateman is best known for his role in Arrested Development where he played Michael Bluth — and took home both a Golden Globe and a Satellite Award. Over the years, he’s starred in countless romantic comedies — including The Switch and Couples Retreat — as well as his work in more serious dramas, like Hancock. Most recently, he’s directed and starred in two works of entertainment, including The Family Gang, and T, a Netflix crime drama series.
This father of two is more private about his personal life, but more than willing to share his insights on his long-lasting career and how he’s accumulated an estimated net worth of $30 million. Here, a few tidbits from this beloved actor that could apply to your lifestyle.
He knows his place — and he stays there.
One of the greatest struggles for many entrepreneurs is taking on multiple gigs at once—from bookkeeper to marketing director and so on. What visionaries are great at, of course, is having the big idea, and not necessarily running every facet of a company. In a similar thread, Bateman understands his strengths within the industry and plays to what he’s good at, rather than putting himself down for the roles he probably wont’ score. As he told The OC Register: “I’m the Every Man, the straight man, the middle-aged white guy who isn’t overly skinny, overly tall, overly short, somebody who reacts to the funny things around him. My mother’s British, so I kind of come by this reactionary comedy thing by default. It’s in my genes.”
And when it comes to staying within his sphere, he told the Telegraph he doesn’t blame the industry for asking him to continue to play parts he’s done before. “..I’m not going to be asked to do something different until they see me do it, but they’re not going to let me do it until they see me do it.”
But he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed.
Though understanding your value is an essential part of any career or any industry, feeling empowered — and brave — enough to seek outside opportunities will take you a step further. And Bateman understands — he’s willing to take risks and tackle roles he might not have first considered, all in an effort to avoid being pigeonholed. This gives him more space to explore, rather than having to remain in the same ‘ole-same ‘ole position for his tenure. “I have been grabbing stuff from all over the place, just to avoid being pigeonholed again. If the TV show hadn’t come along, I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing with this half of my life,” he told The OC Register. “Not acting, I’m guessing. So I am working toward building the kind of broad-based, not-a-big-star, not-a-celebrity career that will give me another 30 years of employment.”
And sometimes, it’s okay to be picky… with your career.
Though most people need to seek those jobs and situations that yield income, when you have the liberty to be a bit choosier about your career, you should be. How come? It allows you to develop the fulfillment from your work that you crave, since you don’t always feel as if you’re racing to make ends meet, satisfy a client or work overtime on a project that doesn’t ignite your passion. For Bateman it was a lesson he learned in his 20s, when he was desperate for work, but wasn’t sure how to act in an audition. “Your natural instinct is to go in there and let them know how much you want it and be affable and be ambitious. Yet in this business, much like high school, a sexy indifference will go a long way, sort of that playing-hard-to-get thing. I never wanted it more, but I never felt more conflicted about looking like I wanted it. So I’d go in there and I’d be acting twice.,” he shared.
But along the way, he found himself inspired by Ron Howard, and realized no one will misinterpret kindness for weakness. “…I thought to myself, ‘If I’m ever lucky enough to find some relevance again and some access and some success, that’s going to be the best part of it, is that I’m going to be able to be as nice as I want to be and not be nervous that that’s going to be misinterpreted for desperate,’” he continued. “So the fact that I’ve been able to say that to Ron — I’ve literally walked him through this long-winded story — it was just really, really nice to be able to do that and to have him be a mentor and a friend and then obviously such a huge part of what was a career-defining job for me on Arrested Development.”
“I’ve been fortunate, but I’m also not very precious about making sure I’m the star of a film,” he says. “If it’s a good part in a good movie, I’ll do it.” Good part, good movie is different from big part, big movie.” he told Men’s Health.
He built his identity and then his career.
By 21, Bateman said he had all of the money he could ever want, and spent 10 to 15 years doing whatever he wanted with his friends, and thus, losing his career. Though not the smartest choice, Bateman looks back on the experience as a time he was really getting to know himself as a human before he really dug deep into his work. Without this time, he doesn’t believe he would have been as successful. “By the time I regained an appreciation for a career and a work ethic and all those types of things, I had to do a lot of catching up. It wasn’t necessarily there for me when I wanted it, and that was difficult and frustrating and extremely humbling. I just kind of had to start over — rebuild an ego and self-esteem and an identity,” he told GQ.
He knows he’s lucky.
As any successful professional will report — or anyone who is in a happy relationship or has a wonderful family — gratitude is at the core of life. For Batmen, understanding how far he’s been able to make it, and the comebacks and second-chances he’s been given, give him a deeper appreciation for his career and lifestyle. “I’m grateful to be able to say that things have never been better in my career, having been in the business for so long.” He then flashes his characteristic side-smile. “And that’s a rare thing to be able to tell people. I wouldn’t change a thing,” he told the Telegraph.
On Arrested Development: “I mean, my career was not vibrant, not robust, to say the least,” he explains. “And then that show came along and gave me a second chance. If it hadn’t appeared, you know, I may have turned to something else… It was the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
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