Tony Hale tackles twin roles in Disney+'s 'The Mysterious Benedict Society'
Based on Trenton Lee Stewart's novel, 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' follows 'four gifted orphans recruited by the peculiar Mr Benedict for a dangerous mission'
For Tony Hale, working on 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' was not an easy feat. The world outside was practically being torn apart by a global pandemic that threatened one and all, and he was the protagonist of a Disney + series. The 'Arrested Development' actor now reportedly says that he took it ''one day at a time'.
The team for 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' had started shooting for the show from August to October last year, which was exactly in the middle of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
"All of us were wondering what the news was and what was happening. I had to try to stay present and live in the moment and it was easy to fall into ''what if this happens...'' and I couldn't go there," the 50-year-old actor recently said.
But the chaos outside was similar to the chaos in Hale's fictional land. "We were shooting right in the middle of this crisis. It is difficult to not see similarities (between the show and the pandemic). The show talks a lot about all the noise that we hear on a daily basis whether through fear or creating anxiety and panic," he added.
Based on Trenton Lee Stewart's novel of the same name, 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' follows "four gifted orphans recruited by the peculiar Mr Benedict for a dangerous mission to save the world from a global crisis known as The Emergency", as per the official synopsis. This emergency is created by his evil twin brother, Dr Curtain.
"Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance must infiltrate the mysterious L.I.V.E. Institute to discover the truth behind the crisis. When the headmaster, the sophisticated Dr. Curtain appears to be behind this worldwide panic, the kids of “The Mysterious Benedict Society” must devise a plan to defeat him."
Hale plays double roles in the show. Perhaps the only time one has seen Hale play two characters on the screen. His previous role as Buster Bluth of 'Arrested Development' earned him a lot of praise. He was thrice nominated for Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
'The Mysterious Benedict Society' book series written by Trenton Lee Stewart and illustrated by Carson Ellis was positively received by not only readers but also critics.
"Almost everything inside this book is an enigma," NPR's Michele Norris wrote. It went on to win awards too - becoming a New York Times bestseller in 2008 and winning a 2007 Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth award, a 2008 Notable Children's Book for Middle Readers award from the American Library Association, the 2008 EB White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers, and a 2008 Texas Lone Star Reading List award.
And so when the opportunity came to work on the show based on the beloved book, Hale had to take it. "They told me about the whole concept, the emergency is happening and it is causing anxiety and panic. It has a whimsical element to it. My character of Mr Benedict is helping the gifted kids, who do not have magical powers but their superpower is their intellect and creativity, empathy. After the year we all have had, I would say those are our superpowers."
The show is written by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay. Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer serve as showrunners of the series and also serve as executive producers alongside Manfredi, Hay, Tarses and Karen Kehela Sherwood. James Bobin has directed the pilot of the show. Ryan Hurst, Kristen Schaal, MaameYaa Boafo, Mystic Inscho, Emmy DeOliveira, Seth Carr, Marta Timofeeva, and Gia Sandhu are also part of the cast.
'The Mysterious Benedict Society' releases on Disney+ on June 25, 2021.