Jason Bateman Recalls Career Dry Spell in the 90s from 'Staying at the Party a Little Bit Too Long'

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Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman

JC Olivera/Getty Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman is reflecting on what he calls his "wilderness years."

In a new interview with The Guardian, the Ozark star recalled a period in his life, in the 1990s, when he wasn't acting much. He told the outlet that the dry spell was from both purposefully taking a break and also trying to catch up on the fun he missed out on as a child actor.

"It was a combination," he said. "Me stopping everything on purpose, to catch up with all these inabilities I had as a kid, because I was always working."

"I wanted to get the wiggles out," he added.

Bateman, 53, got his start on TV playing James Cooper on Little House on the Prairie. From there, he took on numerous TV show and movie roles as a child and then a teenager, including The Hogan Family.

Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman

Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Jason Bateman in 1996

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In his 20s, though, he began to struggle with drugs and alcohol, which caused him to miss out on work opportunities.

"Having thought, 'This is really fun,' and staying at the party a little bit too long, I'd lost my place in line in the business; it was a case of trying to claw that back towards the end of the 90s, and not getting a lot of great responses," Bateman told The Guardian.

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He did eventually bounce back, of course, landing his starring role in Arrested Development in 2003. His work on the series earned him a Golden Globe Award as well as an Emmy nomination.

Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka
Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka

Rich Fury/Getty Jason Bateman and wife Amanda Anka

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Bateman previously opened up about his sobriety in a 2009 issue of Details magazine, comparing his life to the movie Risky Business.

"My parents were out of town, they left me a bunch of money, the car, and the house, and I didn't know when they were coming home," he said, PEOPLE reported at the time.

He also credited his wife Amanda Anka, who eventually gave him an ultimatum, helping him turn things around. Anka and Bateman wed in 2001 and now share two daughters: Francesca, 15, and Maple, 9.

"That's the moment," Bateman said. "Do you want to continue to be great at being in your 20s, or do you want to step up and graduate into adulthood?"

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