'The Mysterious Benedict Society' star Tony Hale: ‘He is like Willy Wonka!’

Tony Hale in The Mysterious Benedict Society
Tony Hale as the curious Mr. Benedict in The Mysterious Benedict Society. (Image credit: ©Disney)

The Mysterious Benedict Society novels by Trenton Lee Stewart have captured readers’ imaginations ever since the first book was published in 2007. Now, an enchanting new adaptation is heading to Disney+ and sees Veep and Arrested Development’s Tony Hale as enigmatic philanthropist Mr. Benedict, who recruits four talented young orphans to go undercover at a strange school to help expose a dark conspiracy that has caused a devastating global crisis known as The Emergency.

We caught up with Tony Hale to find out more about The Mysterious Benedict Society

Tell us about The Mysterious Benedict Society...

Tony Hale: “The Emergency is sending everybody into panic and fear, but no one can put their finger on where it's coming from. Mr. Benedict gathers these four gifted kids together and it turns out the source is coming from Mr. Benedict’s evil — or misunderstood! — twin brother Curtain...” 

How do you see Mr. Benedict?

“He's an affable genius and is desperate to find the truth. He’s very Willy Wonka and full of life but he has narcolepsy so he'll just pass out. Certain things trigger him — heightened joy, or anything surprising.” 

Why does Mr Benedict choose these particular children to help him?

“I love that these kids don't have magical powers, their superpowers are their intellect, creativity, and empathy. Those are superpowers our own society needs! Kate [Flaked’s Emmy DeOliveira] carries around this bucket full of surprises, Constance [The Others’ Marta Kessler] is defiant but there's a reason for it, with Sticky [Bosch’s Seth Carr], information sticks in his brain, and Mr. Benedict sees himself in Reynie [newcomer Mystic Inscho], who has an intuitive nature and empathy. They’ve all been through hard times but are brought together as the perfect bunch.”

The young orphans in The Mysterious Benedict Society

Kate (Emmy DeOliveira), Reynie (Mystic Inscho), Sticky (Seth Carr) and Constance (Marta Kessler) learn about their mission in The Mysterious Benedict Society.  (Image credit: ©Disney)

What was it like working with the young actors in The Mysterious Benedict Society?

“Great! I’ve huge admiration for these kids because not only were they put into this show and that's a new experience but it was during COVID-19. They had such great attitudes and were funny and smart and just took it like champs.” 

You also play Curtain, do you have any scenes with yourself?!

Tony Hale in The Mysterious Benedict Society

Tony Hale sees double as Curtain in The Mysterious Benedict Society. (Image credit: @Disney)

“Ha ha! We shall see! It’s fun. Curtain comes from a place of fear, he's had a lot of trauma. But he's manipulative, whereas Benedict is hopeful and loving. I loved what Benedict wears because it’s loose, but his posture is hunched and that’s tricky to film all day. Whereas Curtain’s upright but his suits are really tight. I'm not a fan of tight clothes!”  

When can I watch The Mysterious Benedict Society?

The first part of the eight-part drama will be released on Friday 25 June on Disney+. Future episodes will be released on a weekly basis.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.