Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Chris Mundy in the series finale – The Hollywood Reporter

Deciding how to end Ozarks, Showrunner, writer and executive producer Chris Mundy said he wanted to honor past seasons of the critically acclaimed Netflix series by only throwing in the kind of dramatic curveballs the show is known for.

“I think the main thing was that we really wanted to be true to the story that we were telling,” Mundy said. the hollywood reporter in it Ozarks final New York premiere on what to expect during the show’s final seven episodes, which premiere this weekend. “We were always pretty brutal throughout the seasons, so we didn’t want to chicken out at the last second. At the same time, you want to surprise yourself and see things through to the end. Until that last second or so, we wanted to remain ourselves.”

“So there are things that will be surprising,” he added on the carpet outside the Paris Theater. “But they will be surprising in a way that, hopefully, were surprising sometimes.”

Executive producer and director Jason Bateman said that when it came to his role in the streaming crime drama’s four-season finale, he mostly tried to be a “good listener” and therefore a “good partner” to Mundy as the executive producer crafted an ending that attempts to answer some fundamental questions. That includes whether the Byrds have to foot a bill or get away with it.

“We talked in the writers’ room about building a myth and then creating a curse,” Murphy explained. “We wanted them to build a myth that maybe creates their own curse, and then see what happened to them because of that curse when it all unfolds in the last 30 minutes.”

Chris Mundy
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Ultimately, Bateman said, the final set of episodes had to consider what kind of definitive statement the show wanted to make, and specifically what message Mundy wanted to send. “He had a lot of options that he could have taken,” Bateman said. “I think he made an incredible decision not to take the end of junk food as a big, huge crescendo, with guns blazing. It is something quite measured, according to his taste and what he had been doing in previous episodes. It somehow ends in a way that, I think, is no more hysterical than any other ending to any other episode. It just gracefully gets to the end of the symptomatic stuff, the story stuff, and the character stuff. It just got stuck, I thought.”

That closing was guided by a creative approach, Mundy said. THR, which the show has always taken, in which the writers come up with the biggest questions that the season will answer at the beginning and return to at the end. With the way Mundy and the writers carefully planned the show, viewers have already been singled out for the big bets. Ozarks he wants to address in his finale.

“We always put a stake in the ground at the beginning of the season and declare what we’re doing, and then people forget. And then hopefully at the end, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah. They declared it,’” Mundy said of the show’s narrative style. “Early in the first seven [of season four] when Wendy tells Jonah, ‘You need to grow up. This is America. People don’t care where your fortune came from’; there are things like that where we put our claim and then we say, ‘Okay, we’re going towards that'”.

It was also shaped by the desire to explore particular themes in the last breaths of the show. “For us, we were talking about love and family all the way, and choice,” the writer and executive producer said. “If it’s smart to love unconditionally or if you really should put conditions on things. Can you choose whether or not to stay in a family? How much is blood and how much is you decide for yourself as you grow older? Those were some things that we went through a lot, emotionally, for everyone.”

The result is that, like previous seasons, the last seven episodes are determined by choices. But when it comes to the Byrds and other characters, the most crucial decision leading to their ultimate fate may have been made long before the final season.

For Bateman, it was trusting that the end justifies the means, but even more so “getting out of the driver’s seat and letting Wendy do her thing.”

“Marty was pretty guilty about getting them all into this mess and thought maybe she’d get them out of it,” the actor said. Ozarks the star said. “So to stop it, letting someone else drive home for the last two seasons, that was a really interesting thing that Chris did. That relationship power dynamic in the family was super smart.”

For actress and star Laura Linney, the casting of her character Wendy, a person “who represents people who can justify very bad behavior for themselves and think they’re doing something positive,” actually happened much earlier in the series. . “I think that’s the first decision they make that you see in the first season flashback, where they’re in a spa and they decide to go into a gray area,” she said. THR.

As to whether the ending will leave the door open for more Ozarks in another way, there’s a “universe” that could be ready to expand alongside the original series, which will live on, says MRC TV president Elise Henderson.

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From left: Peter Friedlander, Elise Henderson, Ted Sarandos, Sofia Hublitz, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Skylar Gaertner, and Chris Mundy
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

“I think Ozarks itself will live forever. I think it’s going to be one of those shows that will live in the canon of big TV from start to finish,” he said. THR. “And I think one of the best things about Ozarks is that I would call it a world-building spectacle. I think we build a world. There is a universe that has been created.”

However, how much that universe gets explored in the future is up to Mundy.

“I’ve given it some thought,” he said. “If there was an organic form, I would never shut down.”

MRC co-owns The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.

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