Jason Bateman likes to spread the wealth and it’s beginning to pay off.

Not only has the affable actor made a career out of handing over the spotlight to his co-stars but at 40 years old, the former child-actor’s generosity may finally be paving the way to the A-list.

Of course, Bateman has had a string of success (Hancock, Juno) but it’s always been as a supporting player.

Now, with the release of his first true leading role as the bewildered owner of a flavouring factory in Extract, one must stop to ponder — why did it take so long for Jason Bateman to become a marquee movie star?

“I think that people get to be ‘big stars’ based on the roles that they play,” revealed the perpetual straight-man during a recent interview.

“You don’t want a bunch of spice all the way through the movie; you need somebody, something down the middle and somewhat boring and plain like characters that I enjoy playing.”

He modestly insists it’s a simple case of finding your niche that has more to do with his success than luck. And as for Extract, Bateman has definitely found his niche. Written and directed by Mike Judge (TV’s King of the Hill), Bateman hilariously plays straight man to a string of odd-but-authentic blue-collar characters.

“For me, Mike Judge represents a certain tone and flavour of comedy that’s not right in your face,” said Bateman of his comfort in the movie. “What he writes are character comedies as opposed to joke comedies or broad, big comedic set-piece comedies … his laughs are very well earned.”

While audiences will have to wait until next Friday to see Extract, Bateman will soon be a cinematic staple with no less than three films hitting theatres over the next few months. One of them — Up in the Air — reunited him with Canadian director Jason Reitman (Juno).

“(Reitman) showed it to me the other day and it’s really, really good,” said Bateman of the comedy which debuts at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. “He’s an incredible talent you guys have spawned and I think it’s going to be quite the victory tour for him up there again.”

There Jason Bateman goes again — spreading the wealth.

For Extract trailer, photos, listings and screen times — or to buy tickets — click here