Jason Bateman tells it like it is.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the 49-year-old actor recollected his hilarious parenting fail — the time he debunked the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy all in one ill-fated conversation with his daughter Francesca Nora, 11.
Bateman, who lives in Georgia for months at a time to film Ozark, decided to separately bring both of his kids with wife Amanda Anka — Frannie and Maple Sylvie, 6 — down south for father-daughter bonding.
But Anka had doubts from the beginning. ” ‘You’re an idiot,’ ” she told him, according to Bateman. ” ‘You can’t get the kids to camp on time, let alone fly across the country with them and feed them and wash them for a week.’ “
“I said, ‘I got it. How dare you,’ ” Bateman playfully recalls. ” ‘Let me try it out first with the 11-year-old. She can probably withstand any sort of damage.’ “
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The trouble started mere minutes into Bateman’s ride to the airport when Frannie popped out with a tricky question about Easter.
“[She said,] ‘Daddy, here’s what I don’t understand. Bunnies don’t lay eggs, right?’ ” Bateman says. “And I’m like, ‘That’s true.’ And she said, ‘So I’m having a hard time putting a couple things together here.’ And I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ And she said, ‘The Easter-egg Bunny: Not real, right?’ “
That’s when Bateman panicked. “I said, ‘I’m pretty sure that’s real, honey. What do you mean?’ She goes, ‘I don’t think it’s real, and I don’t want you to lie to me right now because there’s a few kids in my class who say that it’s not real, and I don’t want to be an idiot … Pinky promise with me right now that the Easter-egg Bunny is real.’ “
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As soon as Bateman pinky promised that the Easter Bunny was indeed imaginary, Frannie cornered him about the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. “So now I’m in a blackout and I’m sweating,” Bateman narrated. “I catch eyes with the driver, he’s in the rear-view mirror, and he’s just shaking his head like, ‘This poor bastard.’ “
After Bateman fessed up, the worst part came. “Now I gotta text Mom, I’m not even at the airport, and I already destroyed [her childhood].” Anka told Bateman to make Frannie pinky promise not to spoil the fun for her younger sister — and questioned her husband’s skills as a “professional liar.”
Jimmy Kimmel offered Bateman advice: “Get that kid some mittens before she asks you about sex.”