The Mysterious Benedict Society's Tony Hale on Wigs, Twins, and Some Much-Needed Empathy

There are few people in television quite as funny or versatile as Tony Hale. From his turn as frightened man-child Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, to Veep's dangerously optimistic pin cushion-slash-personal assistant, Gary, Hale has spent the better part of two decades filling our lives with joyous and irreverent humor. Now, the Emmy-winning actor stars in and produces The Mysterious Benedict Society for Disney+, where he plays both the absent-minded hero and the calculated villain.

The Mysterious Benedict Society offers Hale an opportunity to showcase his incredible range, which is exactly why he took the job initially. Who wouldn't want to play over-the-top twins locked in a battle of good and evil? However, when speaking to about his work on the show, Hale explained that his motivations and purpose for the series changed drastically over the course of production.

"I was mainly excited about the opportunity to play twins. I think that'd be really challenging and it was," Hale told us. "But then when the pandemic hit, the purpose for doing it kind of got bigger for me just because, when the series starts, something called 'The Emergency' is happening, which is this global crisis. It's causing a lot of panic and fear."

"Mr. Benedict gathered these four kids together to find the source," he continued. "These kids don't have crazy magical powers, but their super power is their intellect, their creativity, and their empathy. I think after what we've been through and shooting this show during it all, it just gained this whole life because with all this chaos and confusion that we've had this past year, I think it's the voices of empathy that have really stood out and the voices of hope, and intellect and understanding. I don't know, it became a bigger thing for me and I'm just really honored to be a part of it honestly."

And who knows empathy and understanding better than children? While The Mysterious Benedict Society is labeled as a program for kids, and certainly keeps its tone family-friendly, Hale explained that adults are the ones who really need to be paying attention.

"That's the thing with children's programming, it's labeled children's programming, but it's simple truths that every adult needs to be reminded of," said Hale. "Of how you treat people and kindness and seeing the best, or trying to see the best in people and the best in a situation and those are pretty powerful truths."

The Mysterious Benedict Society took on a deeper meaning for Hale during the pandemic, but that doesn't mean he didn't thoroughly enjoy the challenge of playing two twin characters on the show. He also got to don a thick, curly wig while playing Benedict, giving him more hair than he can ever remember having.


"I loved how just completely different their looks are," Hale said of his two characters. "Curtain's suits are super uncomfortable, which I kind of wanted them to be uncomfortable. Then Benedict's was very comfortable, but his posture was so rough. My lower back was hurting. But then the wig, I've never had that much hair and it was glorious. I mean, every time I put the wig on, I just immediately, just the kind of affable chaos of Benedict, just kind of seeped in. We had this woman named Jalla [Leis Wanless], who was the hairstylist. I don't know, it was just working with all these artists was really, really fun to create it."

The first three episodes of The Mysterious Benedict Society are now streaming on Disney+, with new episodes dropping every Friday morning.