The Switch - Jason Bateman
The Switch - Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) © 2010 Baster Productions

The Switch is Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston’s second movie together – not surprising as they have been friends for many years.

In the film Bateman plays Wally Mars, the best and platonic friend of Kassie (Aniston). When she decides to have a baby through a sperm donor, and doesn’t ask Wally for that honor, on the night of her insemination party, he drunkenly switches the sperm with his own. Kassie moves away and returns seven years later with six year old Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), and Wally is faced with the dilemma of telling Kassie the truth.

Jason Bates spoke with us about what attracted him to this comedy about a modern woman.

You do a lot of comedies. What was about the comedy in The Switch that engaged you?

The Switch - Jason Bateman
Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) © 2010 Baster Productions

As far as comedy goes, it’s not pie in the face, slapstick, kind of broad comedy. It’s whatever laughs would come form people being in a real situation, so we never lean into any of the stuff and it’s not some knee-slapping, silly comedy. It’s character driven with a lot of reactions – stuff that I really like to do and it’s material that makes me laugh, so if I’ve ever made you laugh then you’d probably like this.

Can you tell us a little about your character of Wally?

I’m a guy who is a little bit complicated and a little in his own head and is not the most free-spirited, fun-loving guy. He has complications and some challenges to get through to reach a point of happiness and so he’s a little bit more of a girlfriend to Kassie than a potential boyfriend. Maybe that’s why he’s not a perfect candidate to be a sperm donor. Plus it would wrech their friendship, so, he’s that kind of guy.

You and Jennifer have been friends for years, and you did work with her in The Break Up – what was it like working with her again?

The Switch - Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston
The Switch – Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) and Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) © 2010 Baster Productions

It was nice to get a chance to work together more than just one or two scenes like in The Break Up. Doing a full film with Jen was as great as I hoped it would be and we used every part of our familiarity, especially since we’re supposed to be best friends, so it was nice to have that beforehand.

I think some people that are as good-looking as she is don’t get the credit they deserve sometimes for their acting abilities, but she’s incredible in this.

As you were a child actor, did that help you communicate with Thomas?

The Switch - Thomas Robinson and Jason Bateman
Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) and Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) © 2010 Baster Productions

I started when I was ten and it was tough at ten, so I have no idea who Thomas got it done at six. For him to learn his lines and then also manipulate those lines and try to find some nuance and all that sort of actor crap is amazing. It could have been a whole lot more difficult with somebody who wasn’t as talented as him, so we got really lucky.

Does the modern woman scare you?

That’s why I stick to men!  I’ve had it with women (he laughs) The modern woman is exciting to me because I’m married to one. I’m sure the old fashioned woman would have been great too but I’m living in the modern age.  I like women.

This (film) is something that I guess you would have to label it as progressive, but it does seem to be a little overdue because women have been making some of the better decisions for our planet for quite some time. Of course they can have a child without a clumsy man around.  In this movie, she decides to have the kid first and the guy second. Why not? A lot of people are doing that.

Do you think that it’s possible for a man and a woman to be best friends without a physical part?

The Switch - Jason Bateman
Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) © 2010 Baster Productions

No. (he laughs) I don’t want to make a horrible generalization, but a lot of the guys that I’ve met will sleep with pretty much any girl they meet. If you actually are really good friends with that girl too, well, like that’s a homerun. How can you resist that?

In other words, the first part you really can’t shut off.  I don’t know. I feel like a guy and a girl can remain best friends and not have something happen as long as one of them is in a relationship. As soon as both are single, you can start the clock. Then you just soak it in booze and things happen.

There have been rumors about an Arrested Development movie, are they true?

Yeah, but there is no new news. Yesterday somebody asked me about it when we were doing the on-camera interviews. A journalist said, ‘You and Jen have done a couple of movies together.  You guys have got to keep working together, what about the Arrested Development movie?’

I said, ‘Actually there is a great part for her in the Arrested Development movie that I’m going to pitch her,’ just sort of having fun. There were about 25 headlines this morning on crappy blogs saying, ‘Jennifer Aniston to do the new Arrested Development movie.’

I hate talking about it because there is never anything significant to report. I simply politely answer the questions when they’re asked. Inevitably, someone will take a line out of a perfunctory answer and try to build the headline around it and then the readers become exhausted and I get blamed for trying to perpetuate a non-update. There is nothing new to report but it’s something that we’d all love to do hopefully soon.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.