Jason Bateman Is Preparing for the Worst When ‘Ozark’ Starts Filming in November

Ozark will begin filming the final season before 2020 is over. While fans are eager for the last installment of the Netflix series, Jason Bateman is preparing for the worst and taking precautions to film as safely as possible amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman

‘Ozark’ will start filming the final 2-part season in November

During an interview with IndieWire, Bateman revealed when shooting would begin for season 4 of Ozark

“We’re going to start November 9,” Bateman announced. Season 4 will be a total of 14 episodes, which Netflix will release in two, seven-episode parts. 

“Everything is moving well toward that, and we’re very confident in the guidelines and protocols we’re going to be following,” Bateman added. 

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the cast and crews plan to take every precaution to keep everyone safe and ensure that filming can continue. 

MRC, the production company behind Ozark, shared a statement emphasizing the safety measures they are taking amidst the pandemic:

The health and safety of our Ozark family is our first priority.

Our team has approached [the] return to production with a mandate of exceeding guidelines outlined by the CDC, government officials and others.

We expect our protocols to evolve as we learn from the industry and our own productions. As we aim toward a return, we are working with the unions, health officials, our consultants, and Netflix on our COVID safety guidelines and protocols.

Upon approvals from our partners and the implementation of safety required in this new environment, we are targeting a November start date.

Jason Bateman is stepping down from the director’s chair 

Unlike previous seasons, it doesn’t seem like Bateman will be acting and directing during the final season of Ozark

“As normal, I was going to [direct] the first two episodes,” Batman explained.

But as we were looking through the protocols, the guidelines, [and] all the complications with COVID, the producer side of me made me think it’s just not responsible to have one of the actors direct the first two, given that we’re still going to be getting our perimeter safe.

Bateman continued: 

If one of the actors gets sick, we all have to go home for weeks.

If one of the crew members gets sick — while I’m making sure their salary is protected while they’re in quarantine — we can hire a replacement.

So it just didn’t seem smart for me to [direct] the first two [episodes].

Bateman hopes that by limiting his responsibilities, he will minimize the risk of spreading the illness and forcing the entire production shut down.

Jason Bateman knows the coronavirus will ‘come through the set’ of ‘Ozark’

Regardless of their precautionary measures, Bateman and the team working on Ozark are still preparing for the worst. 

Filming just outside of Atlanta — a hotspot for the coronavirus — Bateman believes it is only a matter of time until someone tests positive for COVID-19. 

“I’ll bet you we get a positive [case of the coronavirus] every week down there,” Bateman conceded. “It’s going to be challenging.” 

Bateman compared Ozark‘s production to a school, with “60 or 70 people [involved], sometimes in a very small location.” 

Bateman knows the chances of someone getting the virus are high due to the number of people in tight spaces and the “ad hoc air conditioning tubes and vents pushing air.”

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“We’re prepared for all of that,” he assured. “It will be disruptive, but these people, we’ve got to get back to work. We’re getting it as safe as we possibly can. I want to prepare for the worst but expect the best.”

Bateman is doing everything he can to prevent the cast and crew from getting sick. In doing so, Bateman is hopeful they’ll be able to film a compelling finale to the Netflix series.