EXCLUSIVE: Allison Janney and Phillip Baker Hall have been added to the cast of Bad Words, the directorial debut of Jason Bateman. The dark comedy follows a middle-aged high school dropout (Bateman) who enters the National Quill Spelling Bee. Janney will play Dr. Bernice Deagan, the outraged director of the spelling bee organization. Hall will play Dr. Bowman, head of the spelling bee group. Kathryn Hahn and Ben Falcone are also in the cast. Rohan Chandz plays a socially awkward spelling bee contestant who Bateman’s character befriends. Bad Words is set to begin filming in LA this week from Andrew Dodge’s original screenplay, which made The Black List in 2011. Darko Entertainment is financing the film; Bateman, MXN Entertainment’s Mason Novick and Darko’s Sean McKittrick and Jeff Culotta are producing. Darko’s Ted Hamm, Aggregate Films’ Jim Garavente and Darren Demetre are executive producing, and Gary Marcus is co-producer. Bateman’s Aggregate has a two-year, first-look deal with Universal Pictures and Universal Television that began in February. Janney is repped by Gersh and Thruline Entertainment. Hall is repped by Paradigm.

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