My Secret Life: Jason Bateman, actor, 42

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The Independent Online

My parents were... my dad was a writer, director and producer, my mom was a PanAm air stewardess for 30 years.

The household I grew up in... We moved about a bit. I was born in New York, then lived in Boston till I was four, then Salt Lake city till I was seven, and I've been in LA ever since. The household was atypical: my mother was out of town for two weeks out of every month, and my dad was always writing, so my sister and I were left to do our own disciplining. We were latch-key kids.

When I was a child I wanted to... I started acting when I was about 10, so I don't remember wanting to be anything different.

If I could change one thing about myself... I wish that I liked to read more. My parents tried to be productive with punishment – I would get grounded and they'd say "you have to read 20 pages of this book by the time we get back", so I always associated reading with punishment.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... I'm a pretty good athlete. I played a lot of sports as a kid. I miss being able to do that now I'm an adult and working all the time.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... I cannot sing or dance at all. You won't be seeing me in a Broadway musical.

At night I dream of... It usually depends what I was watching on TV; I make sure that I don't watch boxing before I go to sleep, or my wife would have to wear a helmet to bed.

What I see when I look in the mirror... that same guy that was there yesterday.

I wish I'd never worn... There were a bunch of sweatshirts that found themselves on my body in the 1980s that no-one ever needs to see again.

My favourite item of clothing... I do wear jeans every single day. I have two pairs of exactly the same jeans, which I wear in rotation.

I drive... a station wagon and a sports car. I'm trying to get that down to one.

My house is ... a medium-sized, regular kind of house. I'd like someday to have a pool, because it gets a little hot here in LA.

My favourite work of art... My wife is more into art – so really anything that Amanda says is my favourite ...

My favourite building... I really like the CAA building in Los Angeles. It's this big huge building with a hole in the middle.

A book that changed me... Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson sort of rekindled my desire to read for a while.

Movie heaven ... I like documentaries, I could watch them all day.

The last album I bought/downloaded ... would be the last Black Keys album.

My secret crush is... my dog. I can't tell him I'm secretly in love with him, or he'd get even more needy.

My greatest regret... is probably not getting my wife pregnant any earlier.

My real-life villain... It's gotta be George W. Bush, right?

The last time I cried... Probably watching a movie. I remember enjoying my last big cry, which was while watching Precious.

What's the point? Just to make sure it wasn't a waste of time.

My life in six words... so far, so good, I guess.

A life in brief

Jason Bateman was born in New York on 14 January 1969. He made his screen acting debut at the age of 12 in Little House on the Prairie. He became well-known for playing Michael Bluth in the TV show Arrested Development, winning a Golden Globe for, and has gone on to star in movies including Juno, Couples Retreat and The Switch. His latest film, Paul, is out now. Bateman lives in LA with his wife, actress Amanda Anka, and their daughter