Justine Bateman, who rose to stardom in the ’80s on the sitcom “Family Ties”, is pretty far removed from her character Mallory. On the show, she played the pretty, popular, somewhat ditzy sister to Michael J. Fox’s Alex, the poster boy for young Republican. In real life, she’s a 47-year old mom who’s gone back to school and is a self-professed nerd.
“I really, really love to work. I love tech, I was half in it. And when I did a search on Monster.com, no matter the keywords I put in, half the jobs were for computer programmers and developers and I thought, ‘F–k it, I’ll just go be a computer programmer’,” she said.
Bateman, who is older sister to “Arrested Development” actor Jason Bateman, says that as much as she loved acting, it started to become something that she felt less and less passionate about.
“I can’t audition anymore. I just completely ran out of gas,” she said.
Although she says she’s in love with school–she’s currently attending UCLA–she admits it is frustrating to be in an environment that is so radically different from the acting world.
“When I started the chemistry class, I looked at the book and thought, ‘I don’t understand anything that’s in here.’ [After] reading it over and over and getting it explained and watching videos, it’s so cool to look at it now and say, ‘Oh yeah, what is it that I didn’t understand?’ But now the new challenge is to answer the questions absolutely perfectly on the test. Get the answer — nobody cares if you understand the concept. And it’s frustrating, because sometimes I’ll get a grade I could’ve gotten by not going to class at all.”
As for her acting days, she says almost everyone surrounding her now is too young to remember “Family Ties”, and that’s okay with her.