Turns out success is a pretty easy word to spell.
Bad Words, the foul-mouthed spelling bee comedy that marks Jason Bateman's feature film directorial debut, has been generating tons of positive buzz since its Toronto International Film Festival debut Friday night.
So much so that the distribution rights to the Arrested Development star's movie were snapped up by Focus Features less than 12 hours after the premiere, with a theatrical release set for next year.
"We got a flattering number of options (Friday) night," Bateman said in an interview Saturday. "They just tried to pick the best home for it."
Bateman also stars in the film as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old high school dropout who exploits a rules loophole in order to compete against 10-year-olds in a national spelling bee. Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) co-stars as a news reporter trying to get to the bottom of Guy's revenge plot, while newcomer Rohan Chand (Jack and Jill) plays a chipper spelling bee competitor who seems largely undaunted by Guy's insults.
Whether he's paying a prostitute to flash her breasts to a 10-year-old or tricking a prepubescent girl into thinking she's having her first period in order to throw her off her game (a ketchup packet is involved), Guy is definitely not the kind of man you'd want around kids.
But treading this ground with his young cast of actors didn't overly concern Bateman, a father of two young children himself.
"I wouldn't recommend nine-year-olds seeing the movie, but exposing the actors in the movie to some of this material, we didn't hide anything from any of the parents of any of the agents," Bateman said. "I certainly knew I had an obligation to have conversations with the kids and their parents about what we were doing and the spirit behind what we were doing."
Having spent more than 30 years in front of the camera himself, Bateman is now incredibly eager to set up shop behind it.
"I'd love to do it (directing) 100% of the time," he said. "I think realistically, I will be maybe splitting my time, if I'm lucky enough to do the kind of split ratio that Ben Stiller or Ben Affleck or George Clooney do."
Would that mean he's too busy for the Arrested Development movie that series creator Mitch Hurwitz is rumoured to be writing, picking up from where the Netflix-exclusive fourth season left off? Although Bateman said he knows nothing concrete about an Arrested Development movie, he would never rule out returning to the dysfunctional Bluth family fold.
"Those are an incredible group of people and a group of people I owe my career to," he said.
Next, though, Bateman will be reteaming with Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day to begin shooting Horrible Bosses 2. So wait ... these guys somehow end up with three new but equally awful employers?
"We're not being aggressive about one-upping ourselves. The three of us don't go to the Great Wall of China," said Bateman.
"If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. We're still in L.A., we're still idiots and we're still making bad decisions."