Monday, September 20, 2021

‘Ozark’ Stars Jason Bateman & Laura Linney on Pushing the Envelope for Season 2

TCA 2018
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney of ‘Ozark’ speak onstage during Netflix TCA 2018 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.
(Source: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images North America)

*The second season of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated, gritty crime drama “Ozark” drops on August 31, and picks up where it left off — with Marty Bryde and his family navigating their secret life within a dangerous drug cartel.

The captivating series was the streaming giant’s most popular show last summer, and star Jason Bateman attributes the popularity to Netflix’s ability at “letting people know what’s happening, what’s on, and where you can find it and at what point,” he said during summer TCA 2018 on July 29 in Beverly Hills.

Adding: “And, hopefully, the fact they’re coming back is because they’re recognizing all the good work that everybody, top to bottom, side-to-side, is doing on the show because these kinds of shows, if they work, I think it works because of the contributions from multiple departments as opposed to, “Oh, they do explosions really well,” or “They do jokes really well,” or “They do this really well.” We don’t really have a lot of bells-and-whistles on this show by design, and so it is kind of a cocktail. I feel really fortunate to be a part of a group as talented as we’ve got.”

Before we get into what’s going to happen in season 2, lets recap some of the events from season one. Check out the recap video below.

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The official Netflix synopsis for Ozark season two is below:

In its much-anticipated second season, Ozark continues to follow Marty Bryde and his family as they navigate the murky waters of life within a dangerous drug cartel. With Del out, the crime syndicate sends their ruthless attorney Helen Pierce to town to shake things up just as The Byrdes are finally settling in. Marty and Wendy (Laura Linney) struggle to balance their family interests amid the escalating dangers presented by their partnerships with the power-hungry Snells, the cartel and their new deputy, Ruth Langmore, whose father Cade has been released from prison. The stakes are even higher than before and The Byrdes soon realize they have to go all in before they can get out.

“He’s emotionally repressed, and that’s something his wife gets on him about in the second season,” said Bateman of Marty. “So, he tries to emote a
little bit more.”

The actor gives props to the writers for “making those kinds of intelligent decisions about what’s the right cocktail, what character should have sort of a reserved demeanor versus another character that might be a little bit more hysterical and what’s the right balance for all that stuff,” he explained.

“Laura, right off the bat, had some incredible ideas about what her character could and should do, and obviously they were more than receptive to hear anything that Laura Linney might have to say about what she can and would like to do because that’s an incredible asset that we have. And then, my duties as EP is, you know, I’m involved in sort of the more global look at each season and the thematics, and all of that other kind of fun stuff, and then directorially there’s another layer of contribution and I feel very lucky to be able to collaborate with all of them on that.”

When asked if they felt any pressure to push the envelope this season, Bateman explained: “Any time you do something and you find out that people are enjoying it, is a huge relief, and it supplies great encouragement because we’re all in a bubble and we don’t know if anyone’s watching or if they’re going to like (it), and so it does sort of give you permission to continue doing at least what you have been doing,” he said.

Adding, “And the writers, again, they understand that the audience deserves an escalation. If there’s going to be more episodes you don’t want redundancies, and plus I think there’s so much good television out that the demand is high to keep bringing it and making it better than the last bit, and sometimes that comes in ways of plot escalation or emotional complexity, or aesthetic and adding great actors and killing off some that you think might not ever die; how could they carry on the story if they kill that person, and that’s another dynamic that’s present in today’s TV. So, it’s a fun process, for sure. And, again, I think the writers manage it really, really well.”

Linney added: “You also learn a lot during the filming of the season. You learn a lot about your character, you learn a lot about each other. And we’re really fortunate because we actually really like each other.”

So, what can viewers learn about law and order in the Missouri Ozarks?

“What do you learn about law and order in the Ozarks? I mean, I don’t know. We’re not trying to make an accurate documentary about what the crime rate is there like at the Ozarks. It just happens to be the place where Bill Dubuque wanted to have this thing set,” Bateman noted.

“This is a man who went there a lot when he was a kid, knew that it had a very colorful history and leant itself to some of the kinds of characters that he would want to write about and have those characters interface with some big city folks. And these big city folks wrongfully assuming that they could dominate them, and that they had them all figured out. So, there’s sort of a culture clash there and, you know, an economic crash there. And how does that all roll out, I think, is more of what the show is about.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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