JASON Bateman has quit as the director for Ozark’s final season amid social distancing issues on the set of the hit Netflix series.
The Golden Globe-winning actor has been an integral part of the show since the very beginning but will be stepping down from his duties behind the camera.
The streaming giant's original series stars Bateman as Marty Byrde, a business-savvy money-launderer who manages to overcome obstacle after obstacle while working for the murderous Navarro Cartel.
And while Bateman may be the face of Ozark to fans, he's also played a major part behind the scenes in all three seasons as executive producer and directing many episodes.
However, due to the filming protocols implemented as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the 51-year-old actor will be focussed solely on acting in the fourth and final season.
The Hollywood star said: "As normal, I was going to (direct) the first two episodes. But as we were looking through the protocols, the guidelines, 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,
"Because 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.”
Also starring Laura Linney and Julia Garner, the series has kept fans gripped throughout.
Fans raved that the season three was its best yet – hailing it “better than Breaking Bad” after a “jaw-dropping” finale.
The season three finale was no exception, with Marty trying to get the FBI to take down a rival drugs cartel led by Navarro (Felix Solis).
However, he ends up on a plane to Mexico with Wendy (Linney) and Navarro's attorney Helen (Janet McTeer) to attend the drug cartel's son's baptism.
Minutes after landing, Helen is shot in the head by one of Navarro's henchmen, before the criminal embraces Marty and Wendy and declares: "This is the beginning".
Viewers were left as stunned by the shock twist as the couple were, and took to Twitter to praise the show's high octane drama.
One wrote: "#Ozark season 3! What a jawdrop ending! Breaking bad who?"
A second tweeted: "Quite enjoying Ozark, AKA Breaking Bad, accounts' edition. More likeable characters than BB had."
A third agreed, writing: "Watch Ozark. It’s like Breaking Bad but more money laundering less drugs."
Meanwhile a fourth added: "Ozark is the best thing to happen to Netflix since breaking bad."
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