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Why Mr. Benedict From The Mysterious Benedict Society Looks So Familiar

For kids, parents, or even viewers of any age looking for some quality fantasy-adventure comfort viewing, "The Mysterious Benedict Society" promises to be one of the most captivating Disney+ originals yet. The eight-episode series — based on the bestselling book series by Trenton Lee Stewart and adapted by habitual Karyn Kusama collaborators Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay — follows in the footsteps of such superpowered found-family hits as the "X-Men" film franchise and Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy," as well as the family-friendly period adventure of "A Series of Unfortunate Events," with a story about four young orphans with unique abilities who are brought together at an otherworldly boarding school.

At the school, known as the Institute, their benefactor reveals himself as Mr. Nicholas Benedict, a strange, mysterious man who masterminded a plan to select four uniquely gifted kids and entrust them with a world-saving mission. One of the book's great delights lies in the eccentric personality of Mr. Benedict, an inveterate intellectual given to both elaborate soliloquies and unbridled goofiness. On Disney+'s "The Mysterious Benedict Society," both Mr. Benedict and his evil twin Mr. Curtain are played by an actor for whom such an attention-grabbing authority figure role has been a long time coming. It's Tony Hale and here's why he might look familiar.

Tony Hale played Buster Bluth on Arrested Development

After a start as a prolific commercial actor — including a memorable role as the dancing guy in Volkswagen's 1999 "Mr. Roboto" ad — Tony Hale first earned widespread notoriety for his role in one of the most notorious sitcoms of all time. Along with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat and David Cross, he formed the legendary ensemble that helped Fox's "Arrested Development" change the face of TV comedy for good.

Hale played Byron "Buster" Bluth, the youngest, most impressionable and least mature of the four Bluth children. Introduced as an awkward manchild with diffuse interests and a proclivity for panic attacks, Buster was revealed, over time, as the hilarious yet borderline terrifying result of a lifetime of unhealthy overprotection on the part of his mother Lucille (Walter). Throughout the show, his character went through huge plot developments, including joining the Army and striking up a May-December affair with his mother's neighbor and lifetime rival Lucille Austero (Liza Minelli), and Hale always played him with the exactly right madcap energy to paint Buster as both pathetic and oddly endearing. Hale also returned to play Buster on Seasons 4 and 5 of "Arrested Development" after Netflix brought the show back.

Tony Hale had a lengthy guest spot on Chuck as a banal antagonist

NBC's "Chuck" became notorious for its daring movement between different genre spaces, qualifying as both a whip-smart workplace sitcom and a genuinely engrossing spy drama-thriller. In the latter realm, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) faced off against such high-caliber villains as terrorists, rogue assassins, and international spies, often finding himself face-to-face with death. But in the former, his woes were much more banal — as exemplified by Season 2 antagonist Emmett Milbarge.

Played by Tony Hale for 15 episodes of the second season and one on Season 3, Emmett entered the show as a corporate-appointed efficiency expert tasked with evaluating the Buy More retail store where Chuck worked, only to sleaze and manipulate his way to store manager over the course of the season. Up until Hale's departure from the show, Emmett ruled the Burbank Buy More with an iron fist, and his draconian excesses often got in the way of Chuck's spy missions. Hale, for his part, did a great job of making Emmett utterly detestable.

Hale earned acclaim and awards for his role on Veep

Though "Arrested Development" became a cult classic and a defining show of the 2000s TV landscape and many of Buster Bluth's quotes went down as the stuff of legend (e.g. "I'm a monster!"), Tony Hale's most notorious role is still probably Gary Walsh on the acclaimed HBO political comedy "Veep." The inseparable personal assistant and body man of U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Gary was a unique figure in the universe of "Veep:" a genuinely loyal and devoted person, who actually believed in and lived for something. But, in the show's typically scathing satirical fashion, that "something" was, simply put, Selina's every want and need, no matter how insignificant. Gary micromanaged the vice-president's routine, from her eating habits to her interactions with world leaders, with such ruthless, single-minded efficiency that the two became utterly codependent, yet Selina never bothered to treat Gary like much more than a foot rest — which Gary didn't mind at all. Their bizarre relationship became the backbone of "Veep," and anchored the show during its rare forays into emotional sincerity.

It goes without saying that Louis-Dreyfus earned raves for her performance as one-half of that duo, with a record-shattering six consecutive Emmys for Best Comedy Leading Actress to show for it. But Hale wasn't too far behind; critics showered praise on the unique character of Gary and the actor's inimitable conception of him, and Hale won the Emmy himself twice, for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2013 and 2015.

Hale was Vice-Principal Worth in Love, Simon

After becoming widely known for his appearances in the vicinity of a vice-president, Tony Hale took up the role of a vice-principal for one of his most recognizable movie roles. In Greg Berlanti's watershed gay teen romcom "Love, Simon," Hale played Mr. Worth, the most prominently seen of the authority figures at Creekwood High School.

Despite only appearing in a handful of scenes and being replaced by Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell) on spin-off series "Love, Victor," Mr. Worth made his mark in the movie thanks to the character's comedic singularity. Like every vice-principal, Mr. Worth had to enforce the school's rules, including taking away students' cell phones when required, but he was set apart by his desperate, hopeless commitment to being well-liked and seen as cool. As a result, he made a point of quipping and tossing out awkward jokes while inspecting the students' behavior and meddling in their business — but also showed a more sympathetic side later on, quietly supporting Simon (Nick Robinson) by wearing a Pride pin while he was being made of by his classmates for being gay. And, as usual, Hale's performance was pitch-perfect, confirming him as a specialist in playing eccentric, high-strung scene-stealers.