With the DVD and Blu-ray release of Identity Thief on July 15, loaded was able to catch up with comedy golden boy Jason Bateman. The actor stars as a mild-mannered family man whose life is turned upside down when con artist Melissa McCarthy steals his identity and racks up one hell of a credit card bill. When Bateman tracks her down to prove his innocence, the two embark on the road trip from hell…
Check out what the star had to tell loaded about the movie!
What does identity mean to you? You are a celebrity – that’s one identity – but you’re also a parent. What happens if someone steals your identity? What are they taking, really?
I think Melissa and I are really lucky. We do not have a different identity that has been created for us by the media, through tabloid journalism. We are kind of left alone, fortunately. I think we are both pretty boring, that is really the problem.
Is it when you have a really common name, that people steal your identity?
In this film we made it about how that name, Sandy [the name of both Jason and Melissa’s characters], can work both for a man or a woman, but that really doesn’t matter to these people. It’s mostly about, as Melissa said, numbers. I think they just arbitrarily pick whomever. If you can get somebody’s checking account, social security number, and mother’s maiden name, all that stuff, then, as far as I understand it, you don’t really show up. All of the identity thievery, and the fallout from it, happens via the internet. People start moving funds around and buying things. But that would not have made for a very fun movie.
The original idea was for the character of the thief to be a man and then you changed it. How did that happen?
It was simply a matter of going to see the premiere of Bridesmaids and just being as blown away as everyone else. I said, “We should switch the thief to a woman and make it Melissa McCarthy,” and they said, “Well, see if she will have lunch with you.” She did.
You had to be the straight man in this. You basically set Melissa up, lobbing softballs in for her to hit home runs. So, how outrageous did Mellissa go, and when did she have to tone it down?
Melissa has an amazing ability to sense what she needs to do to make the two halves make a whole, whether it is 30 percent on my side and 70 percent on hers, or vice versa, depending on the construction of the scene. It’s really fun to work with every day, especially in a comedy. So it is somewhat innate, she has just got a great ear. Sometimes you work with, especially comedic actors, who will swing a little too hard all the time because they really want to score and they want to make everything funny, even when you might just be saying a line of exposition, and she just isn’t greedy like that.
Can you talk about Eric Stonestreet playing Big Chuck in this movie? It’s such a great romance between him and Melissa for that one sordid night…
Melissa spent a lot of time working with Eric and with the screenwriter Craig Mazin. The three of them together with the director Seth Gordon, really make that scene what it is. However, there are plenty of spaces in that scene that are really honest and of high-quality drama, so if you ground it in that, then all that other stuff is so much more satisfying. You don’t feel quite as dirty when you finish laughing at something that’s so broad. If you have got the talent that those two have, to start with something that is really honest and then go crazy, it’s pretty fun to watch.
There is a lot of physical comedy in this – particularly the fights between you and Melissa. Did you hurt each other? Or was it stunt doubles?
You try to do as much as you can. There are certain things that just are not smart and that the studio will not insure you for, like getting hit by a car. But Melissa wanted to do it. All of our tussling and wrestling and that stuff we did – it was painful at times, and I accidentally threw her to the pavement at one point.
And lastly, have you ever taken a road trip?
Cars are funny. I have done a few in Europe where you can change languages and currencies and cultures in a matter of two hours, either by car or by train, whereas here you do not really get the variance. You should go to Europe.
Identity Thief is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray July 15