Director-actor Jason Bateman spells revenge with a bee in 'Bad Words'

Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:07pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Spelling bees let children demonstrate their vocabulary prowess, though they are often rife with the drama of rivalry, pushy parents and pint-sized competitors driven to their limits to recall archaic words.

For actor Jason Bateman in his directorial debut "Bad Words," the spelling bee is the stage for a middle-aged man with a meticulous plan for revenge by exploiting a loophole in the rules.

"No one needs to see another spelling bee movie, that was a repellent to me when I read the script," Bateman said.

"Bad Words," in limited theaters on Friday and nationwide on March 28, stars Bateman as Guy Trilby, whose revenge motivations are painstakingly uncovered by a hassled journalist, played by Kathryn Hahn, as he progresses through tournaments and befriends an adorable 10-year-old contestant.

For the child actor portraying Guy's new friend, Chaitanya Chopra, Bateman wanted "a kid who had an undeniable sunshine and light and ease and lack of fear, something that would perfectly counterbalance all the cynicism and darkness" of Guy.

He chose Rohan Chand, an Indian-American from New York City who was 8 at the time of filming and had appeared in high-profile projects such as Showtime's "Homeland" TV series and last year's "Lone Survivor" film.

In "Bad Words," Rohan spends much of his screen time innocently ignoring Guy's foul mouth and sometimes racist insults, brings out Guy's inner soft side and accompanies him on a raucous night involving booze, pranks and a prostitute named Marzipan.

At the film's Los Angeles premiere, Rohan, accompanied by his parents, said his favorite part was a scene involving dropping a lobster into a toilet and watching an unsuspecting man get nipped in the nether regions.   Continued...

Director and cast member Jason Bateman poses at the premiere of "Bad Words" at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, California March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni