On today’s The Contenders Emmys panel featuring the stars of Netflix drama Ozark, moderated by Mike Fleming Jr., Jason Bateman said he had some fun throwing away some of his Marty Byrde character’s “icy, no-emotion” demeanor to show a few frayed edges in the series’ second season.
Bateman said that as Marty, a financial adviser who brings his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug lord, he was “trying to keep the wheels on the road kind of thing” in the first season. In Season 2, he added, ‘I was meant to start wobbling a little bit.”
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Bateman described Marty as the representative for the audience’s perspective, and in the first season he didn’t want Marty to “get riled up — it might get too noisy. We will go further with that in the next season. … My character is a little less stable. There will be a more interesting manifestation of that in this next year.”
Meanwhile, Bateman and Linney both took note of the fact that her character, Marty’s wife Wendy, has grown stronger. Bateman joked that Marty is getting a glass of cold water in the face as he becomes aware of what a “ninja” his wife has become.
Joked Bateman: “It’s not uncommon for the dude to think he’s a little bit smarter than he is.”
For her part, Linney said she appreciates the continued opportunity for her to grow in her relationship with Marty. “For Wendy, they had a marriage that was solid and functioned well, but they didn’t really know each other,” she said. “They are getting to know each other in ways that they never expected.”
Garner laughed when the other panelists suggested her character, the rebellious Ruth Langmore, might be the strongest character of them all. “She is very emotional,” Garner said. She said her toughest challenge was playing a character with a secret. “It’s kind of hard, acting like you have a secret,” she said. “You want the audience to know what’s going on, but you don’t want your scene partner to know what’s going on. That’s also challenging, but it’s a good challenge.”
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