Tony Hale: 2 'Benedict' characters not double the work

Tony Hale plays Benedict in "The Mysterious Benedict Society." Photo courtesy of Disney
1 of 5 | Tony Hale plays Benedict in "The Mysterious Benedict Society." Photo courtesy of Disney

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Tony Hale said playing Benedict and Curtain on The Mysterious Benedict Society, returning for Season 2 Wednesday, does not double his workload. He said he films both of their scenes on the same day.

"When I was changing hair and costumes, they would be shooting something else," Hale, 52, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


In Season 1, Benedict enlisted four gifted children to infiltrate the school of his twin, Curtain, who was plotting an emergency to threaten the world.

The Benedict Society kids prevented the emergency, but Curtain came back with a new plan. Now, Curtain is selling happiness to the world -- and only the Benedict Society realizes Curtain is up to no good.

For Hale, playing a happy Curtain allowed him to explore new dimensions of his double role.

"There's a real theme of the difference between the idea of happiness and authentic happiness, which is what Benedict represents," Hale said. "Curtain's happiness is a veneer, but the cracks are really starting to show."


Benedict may appear neurotic, especially when it comes to battling Curtain. However, Hale said, that makes Benedict's happiness more authentic.

"I think true happiness is experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions, while Curtain doesn't want to touch on certain emotions because it's too scary," Hale said. "I think you have to experience the highs and the lows to get real happiness."

The Mysterious Benedict Society is based on a series of books by Trenton Lee Stewart. Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, and showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, adapted the books for Disney+.

Season 2 follows the second book in which the Benedict Society goes on a scavenger hunt in Europe after arriving there by boat. Curtain's new happiness plot was an invention of the writers.

"Giving people this happiness in a form that isn't quite natural is another method of control," Hay said. "On the surface, it's more benign, but still goes to that need of Curtain to control people."

Slavkin said he agreed with the addition because it spoke to a modern-day pressure to visibly portray yourself living your best life.

"This idea of happiness felt so relevant to the times we live in with Instagram and social media," Slavkin said.


Season 2 also had to cope with its young cast growing noticeably older between seasons. Mystic Inscho, Seth Carr, Emmy DeOliveira and Marta Kessler play Benedict Society members Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance, respectively.

The producers said Carr, 15, and Inscho, 13, grew 2 inches each and their voices deepened. Manfredi said the actors' aging makes the show different from the books.

"Unlike the book where they stay a little bit the same, we can acknowledge changes and write it into their emotional stories," Manfredi said.

DeOliverira, now 16, said she believes her growth has made her a better actor since she began the show at 14.

"One-eighth of my life has passed in between the first and second season," DeOliveira said. "Throughout the first season, just growing and the experience of having done all of that, going into the second season, I improved a lot."

Kessler is now 13. With all the kids at different stages of their teenage years, Hay said the cast's maturity has an impact on Season 2's story.

"They're taking a lot of initiative on their own as opposed to being told what to do," Hay said.

New episodes of The Mysterious Benedict Society premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.


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