A universal constant states that if you add Allison Janney to your cast, you automatically class things up 732%. Jason Bateman has taken advantage of that for his directorial debut, Bad Words, but hasn’t stopped there. He’s also recruited Phillip Baker Hall, Kathryn Hahn, Ben Falcone and Rohan Chand.
Words finds Bateman starring as Guy Trilby, a bitter, 41-year-old high school dropout. Looking for ways to make other people as unhappy as he is, he discovers a loophole that lets him enter the National Quill Spelling Bee.
Competing against young kids, he manages to make it to nationals, while befriending Chaitanya (Chandz) a winning, charming speller who isn’t fazed by Trilby’s hi-jinks.
Hall is set as Dr Bowman, who runs the Bee, while Janney will give good bluster as Dr Bernice Deagan, the director of the organization, outraged at what Trilby is trying to do. There’s no word yet on which characters Hahn and Falcone are plating.
Bateman, working from a script by Andrew Dodge, starts the cameras whirring this week.
Janney will next be seen in Trust Me and The Way, Way Back. Hall crops up briefly in Argo and is at work on A Many Splintered Thing. Chand was in Jack & Jill and an episode of Homeland. And Bateman will be seen next year in the new Arrested Development episodes, which some of us are slightly anticipating. And by “anticipating” we mean trying to build a time machine so we can see them now.