The first season of The Mysterious Benedict Society saw the titular Mr Benedict (Tony Hale) recruit four incredible kids — Reynie (Mystic Inscho), Sticky (Seth B. Carr), Kate (Emmy DeOliveira), and Constance (Marta) — to deal with an international crisis known only as The Emergency. Through pluck, determination, and a little bit of good luck, the children managed to save the day and foil the schemes of the sinister Dr Curtain (Benedict’s identical twin brother, also played by Hale).
Yet evil never really rests (Unless it’s feeling snoozy), and despite the Society going their seperate ways at the end of the TV series’ first season, they have another adventure ahead of them. Yes, Curtain has returned with a new scheme that we don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say it involves making the world happy. How is that an evil scheme? Well, you’ll have to watch and find out.
Ahead of season 2 then, we caught up with Hale and Kristen Schaal, who plays his long-suffering companion Number 2, to talk a little about what fans can expect from The Mysterious Benedict Society season 2, how Hale differentiates the two characters he plays, and where the drama series will go next.
The Digital Fix: The season opens with the world convinced Curtain is a hero; how would you describe Benedict and Number 2’s feelings at the start of the show?
Kristen Schaal: Frustrated [laughs]!
Tony Hale: Really dumbfounded, too, as to the big turn that happened with Curtain. You know, he’s pretty much reinvented himself. And we were not expecting that at all.
TDF: He’s reinvented himself into a sort of wellness guru, hasn’t he? What did you make of that when you read the script?
KS: Oh, it made so much sense. That’s just sort of the shape-shifting stuff he would be up to! It’s right up Curtain’a alley. So it was like, ‘wow, chef’s kiss!’
TH: Yeah. He also knew there was really no other angle to go because he was seen in such a dark light. He was like, ‘Well, let me take some time and start looking into what cults do’ and kind of like figure out the ins and outs of that.
We were talking earlier about just how much we love the difference between the facade of happiness that he’s selling and the real happiness that Benedict lives in. And that constant tension today that we see in people kind of selling an idea of happiness without depth to it.
TDF: What do you think motivates Curtain?
TH: I think there’s a lot of fear of being exposed. I think there’s trauma inherent. I know that’s kind of a buzzword now. But I think there is a lot of trauma, resentment, all the things that should not drive you forward, but it definitely motivates him.
But what’s interesting is you see him, and he’s so put together, whereas Benedict is kind of hunched and exposed. But it’s such a facade that Curtain carries, and it’s just waiting to crack.
TDF: Kristen, you have so many scenes with Curtain and Benedict this year. How do you keep it straight in your head? What’s it like filming those scenes?
KS: It’s it’s a little bit of a stop-start, and there’s a split screen. I would love to pull the Curtain back for the special effects. They get really upset up you put a cup down with the handle facing a different way because they had to match it.
But it’s incredible with Tony watching him work. He really does go into each character so effortlessly and completely that it’s his silhouette too. It’s easy to tell who’s who.
TH: That just shows that I’m really messed up. That’s the conclusion of that.
TDF: Tony, do you have a process for swapping between the love of the lovable Benedict and the nasty Curtain?
TH: Yeah, I think, you know, posture is a big one. Curtain definitely has some sense of posture, but Benedict is very hunched over, kind of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I think there’s an empathy that Benedict carries. Like he’s listening to people, whereas Curtain’s not listening. Curtain is just talking. So you kind of when I’m talking as Benedict, I’m really trying to listen to them in the eyes, and Curtain is just talking even if he’s with somebody, no one else is really there to him.
The Mysterious Benedict Society season 2 is streaming now on Disney Plus.