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March 7, 2014

Bateman and Dodge @ SCA

Comedy Duo Screens Bad Words at USC

In Trojan writer Andrew Dodge’s debut feature Bad Words, a grown man with anger issues enters the national spelling bee on a technicality where he proceeds to sabotage the hopes of all of the young contestants to bring himself the glory. Tapping into his own past as a “debate kid,” Dodge said he had the idea fully formed after watching the documentary Spellbound.

David Isaacs, Andrew Dodge and Jason Bateman

“I saw the kids [in the spelling bee] and they reminded me of myself at that age,” Dodge told the crowd in SCA 108. “I was a debate kid and I thought, these kids are weirdos in the same way I was a weirdo at that age. The overall idea of the film became, ‘How would I, in 2014, pick on myself when I was that age?’ I was always interested in bringing a world like the Spelling Bee to the world and, with the character of Guy Trilby, I knew I could do it.”

Dodge is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at USC but worked for the School of Cinematic Arts when he was a student. After graduation, Dodge got a job in the story department at Columbia Studios where he worked for fifteen years, including running the internship program.

Bad Words is actor Jason Batemen’s directorial debut. Bateman is best know for his role as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development but he told that crowd that his career as an actor was to facilitate a transition into directing.

“My Dad was a director so going to these odd little movies was like playing catch with him,” said Bateman. “He would show me these old, small movies and explain why they were good. He told me what a good director does and what a good actor does.”

“It’s rare when you read about a character this unlikable,” said Bateman. “I liked the challenge of taking something that unlikable and making it work. There’s lots of tricks to make it work as a director. It could be music or a look or an edit. I wanted the challenge.”

The screening of Bad Words was part of the Alumni Screening Series and was co-presented by Comedy@SCA.

Bad Words opens on March 7th. For more information, please visit: