Thanks to working two part-time jobs, I sometimes get to catch NPR during the middle of the day as I drive from one job to the other. Midday programming is generally longer and more in-depth. So when you catch a topic of personal interest, it’s a real treat to listen in.
Jason Bateman was interviewed today on Fresh Air. From early stardom on Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons to a successful adult career in film and television, Mr. Bateman has accrued three decades of perspective on professional acting. It was a marvelous interview.
During the broadcast, Mr. Bateman gave one of the most intelligent, to-the-gut quotes I've ever heard about childhood stardom. Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air asked if he'd been worried about losing his career after adolescence. Discussing the trap that catches both child stars and their parents after tasting success, Mr. Bateman said this:
"You sort of end up buying the confidence and the attitude that you really need to be renting."
The quote struck me with its astuteness, wit, and undeniable wisdom. It applies well to one-hit wonders of any age group. He went on to discuss the challenge of mounting a career in professional acting:
"It's a very tenuous position. It's a very fickle business. And to think that it's going to last forever is naive at best. ...I've acted pretty consistently for thirty years now, and even with that there were some very painful, confusing dry periods. You don't know when, or if, you're ever going to come out of it...There's only so much you can do to regenerate that relevance in the industry."
Mr. Bateman went on for several more minutes, offering thoughtful observations about his career and the acting process. This is the second time I've heard him on NPR. In the extended interview environment, where intelligence and maturity can't be faked, he does very well.
If you are a Jason Bateman fan, or even if you just appreciate hearing successful performers discuss their work intelligently, this is a great interview to catch.