Back in March came the news that Jason Bateman of Ozark and Arrested Development fame would be collaborating with former Marvel superheroes Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson on the upcoming Apple TV+ science fiction film alternatively known as Project Artemis or just Artemis. Rather than starring in the project, Bateman would be sitting in the director’s chair. Sadly, it looks the former Avengers will have to move forward without Bateman guiding them: the news just dropped that he’s leaving the project.
Deadline is saying that Jason Bateman left Project Artemis over “creative differences,” but reportedly the split has proven amicable. The outlet says that the decision to part ways was “mutual,” and that all parties look forward to future collaborations. It’s near impossible to even speculate on what the “creative differences” at play could be because very few details about the film — which will reportedly have something to do with the space race — have been forthcoming.
While Jason Bateman is better known as an actor, his directing credits begin all the way back to his early twenties, when he directed a few episodes of the hit sitcom Valerie. In fact, in spite of a list of Emmy nominations dating back to 2005, Bateman’s only Emmy win so far hasn’t been for acting. He took home the Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series Emmy for “Reparations” — the season 2 premiere of the incredible Netflix series Ozark.
Bateman’s departure from Project Artemis isn’t the first particularly public split between the actor/director and a big movie. Jason Bateman was originally attached to both direct and star in a remake of Clue. Ryan Reynolds was set to co-star and the script was written by Reynolds’ Deadpool collaborators — the writing team of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. In early 2020 came the news that Bateman was leaving the director’s chair because of the time commitment. He told Collider “something of that size takes much, much longer to do than what the seasonal hiatus [of Ozark] was able to accommodate.” Still, he expressed hope, saying, “But if it’s still around when Ozark is all wrapped up, I’d love to do it. But who knows, they might put a different director on it before then.” There were, in fact, reports that James Bobin (Muppets Most Wanted) was in talks to replace Bateman as director, though there have been few updates on that since 2020. As recently as last August, Reynolds expressed doubt that the Clue remake would ever happen, but now? Who knows? Maybe as soon as Reynolds heard about Project Artemis he got busy texting Jason Bateman about a board game movie.
With Jason Bateman no longer attached to helm Project Artemis — unless he does end up reviving Clue — it looks like his next work in the director’s chair will be for the upcoming Netflix original Here Comes the Flood. Deadline reported on Bateman’s involvement with the project back in July 2020. Like Project Artemis, there aren’t a lot of details available about the film, though it will apparently be a heist film and the script was written by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past).