Having played his share of straight roles on short-lived TV series, Jason Bateman
doesn't mind taking a gay part if it means he'll enjoy a steadier paycheck.
"I've got a lot of gay friends it's never been something that really bothers me," he assured reporters while out promoting CBS's new gay guy-straight guy roommate comedy, Some of My Best Friends (debuting Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 8 pm/ET). "And as far as having any hesitations to play a gay character, I didn't have any of those either."
Bateman's sitcom is based on the 1997 indie film, Kiss Me Guido, an Odd Couple-esque farce about a gay writer named Warren who shares an apartment with Frankie, a macho schlub from the Bronx. While the show initially shared the movie's name, CBS balked for fear of offending Italian-Americans. So the title was changed to the silly-sounding Me and Frankie Z before finding its current, more generic incarnation.
"The gay thing is just a springboard for [exploring] the differences in our personalities," offers Bateman, who portrays Warren. "The only thing that's specifically different about a gay man and a straight man is who they have sex with. [Though] a gay man sometimes has a lot more courage to be more vulnerable or communicative or emotional... Frankie [who's played by Danny Nucci] happens to be insufficient in some of those emotional areas."
After trudging through drek like The Hogan Family (Valerie Harper's sitcom in the post-Valerie years) and Bob Newhart's George & Leo, the actor is understandably hopeful that he's finally landed a quality gig. "For me, the writing is a lot smarter and more clever [on this show] than I've had a chance to do," he admits, adding, "I don't think I was ever successful enough to just... be handed stuff. I worked my little tail off to get this part!"