Kristen Schaal on Mysterious Benedict Society, Bob's Burgers Movie - VRGyani News and Media

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Friday, August 6, 2021

Kristen Schaal on Mysterious Benedict Society, Bob's Burgers Movie

In the Disney+ original series The Mysterious Benedict Society, adapted from the book of the same name by Trenton Lee Stewart, a global crisis known as The Emergency pushes Mr. Benedict (Tony Hale) to recruit four very gifted kids for a dangerous mission to infiltrate The Institute, a school run by the nefarious Mr. Curtain (also Hale). To save the world, the kids must devise a plan to discover the truth and defeat evil, in order to set things right again.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Kristen Schaal (who plays Mr. Benedict’s associate, Number Two) talked about why she loves this world, discovering the identity of a character that only goes by Number Two, the incredible wardrobe she gets to wear, and what she enjoys about working in live-action compared to animation. She also talked about what fans can expect from Louise’s journey in the Bob’s Burgers movie, how she feels about the ending of The Last Man on Earth, her time on 30 Rock, and why she feels blessed to be “a little weird.”

Collider: I love this show, I love this character, and I love how quirky all of it is.

KRISTEN SCHAAL: Oh, good. I love it too.

The look and feel of this show, the locations, and these characters make up so much of what the show is. When this project came your way, was that something that was easy to visualize from the script? Did you get a real sense of how the look and the tone for this show would be?

SCHAAL: Yeah, it really did come off the script pages vividly. The language, the way the characters talk, and what’s going on with the action and the plotline is a parallel timeline. The original author of the book, Trenton Lee Stewart, did such a good job, and the writers and creators did a really excellent job of translating that to TV as well. The world was there already, before we even shot the thing.

What was it about this story that really most interested you and made you want to be a part of telling it? Was there something specific about it that most spoke to you, or was it just the overall feel of it?

SCHAAL: I guess what really got me was how, in the first minute of the show, it’s the children that can see the truth. Children get overlooked a lot and brushed aside, but there is something so beautiful in the fact that children are innocent. This was the first time a story took that innocence as a valuable tool to helping all of us and maybe even connect us all to the innocence that we were born with, until you lose it over time. I thought it was pretty beautiful.

When you’re playing a character named Number Two, where do you start? How do you approach building her identity?

SCHAAL: Just that alone is already so fruitful, that she doesn’t have a name. I feel like I could identify with who she is more with the moniker of Number Two, as opposed to Sarah, or whatever. There are so many associations with names, so being Number Two all of a sudden created this thing where she’s mysterious. She’s got a brain that’s bigger and faster than most of her peers and that has kept her isolated. She’s had to search out the people that would understand her, which is why she’s so thick with Benedict and Rhonda and Milligan. They’re the one family that understands her. She’s just Number Two. I love her.

How do you think she feels about being Number Two? Is she satisfied and happy about not being Number One?

SCHAAL: Benedict has been a mentor for her, so in that regard, I think she does put him up on a pedestal. When the story was unfolding, there were times where Kristen, the actor, was like, “Let Number Two do this. Let her take the reins.” I don’t think Number Two would allow herself to think that. I think she’s happy being Number Two, but if she had to, she could easily be Number One.

Your character is a very snazzy dresser and she has some particularly sharp coats. What do you like about her wardrobe and what do you think her wardrobe says about her?

SCHAAL: Oh, man. Catherine Adair did the costumes and I was so in love with my costume fittings. Whenever I would go for them, I would go a little bit earlier to watch them hand sew every piece. The women and men that were working on the costumes were just spectacular. And the color palette too, holy cow. That’s what really makes the show so vivid. Each outfit for Number Two is for whatever the event. When she’s giving the tests, I feel like that yellow uniform is perfect. It’s authoritative and respectful. You know where to go to turn your test in because it’s bright. When she’s camping, she also makes sure that she’s put together in something functional and useful, but gosh dang it, it’s really stylish. She looks so good, all the time. She just looks so good. I love her looks.

I love this odd team of Benedict, Number Two, Rhonda, and Milligan. They’re such a quirky bunch, but each one of them seems to have their own purpose in the larger mission. How was it to that dynamic between this team? What do you most enjoy about having that little group to play with?

SCHAAL: My favorite character to bounce off of, for Number Two, is Rhonda. She’s her peer. She’s at her level. They occasionally have different ideas about how to go about things. And then, they also have the same feelings about Benedict. She loves her teammates. That’s her family. There’s a comfort in family, where you can actually be yourself, thorns and all. Whatever ugliness you have, you feel safe enough to show it around your family. Believe it or not, those scenes are Number Two at her most relaxed.

RELATED: New 'The Mysterious Benedict Society' Teaser and Character Posters Promise a Quirky Fantasy Adventure Series on Disney+

How is it for her to have a boss that has a narcolepsy issue, where he just falls over anywhere, at any time? Were you ever concerned about mishaps that might happen during those moments?

SCHAAL: Oh, a hundred percent. I wanted the narcolepsy to happen even more throughout the show, but I understand why they had to use it in small. It’s happened so many times that they have a routine about how to fix it. When emotions are running high, they have to tamp it down around him. Everybody’s got their quirks and everybody’s used to it. It’s not a quirk. It’s just who he is.

What do you enjoy about working in live-action versus animation?

SCHAAL: I’ve been really fortunate. I feel like I won the lottery. I like them both so much. Animation is just really fun because you can go anywhere and be in any circumstance that they can create. You can be in space, you can be a dinosaur, you can be whatever and it works. It’s also very fun because even though you’re just saying lines, you’re still feeling it and you’re still in the story. When I go into the booth, I get the benefits of pretending, the same as I would with live-action. For live-action, it’s fun because it’s less lonely than animation. Animation tends to be lonely. I’ve been with Bob’s Burgers forever. The writers would get to see each other, and I would only get to see them once or twice a week, and now never. You feel a little bit like you’re on the outside, even though you’re a big part of the show. For live-action, you feel like, “This is my pack. We’re in it. I’m in this thing. I spend hours with these people. We’re creating this thing. I’m in it.” That makes me feel really proud and excited, and I get to talk to people. That’s all I wanna do.

Is there anything that you can tease about Louise’s journey in the Bob’s Burgers movie?

SCHAAL: Oh, man. There is very cool stuff, but if I say it, after the hours of sacrifice that Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith and Bernard Derriman have put into this, they would not appreciate it. I haven’t discussed with them what I can talk about. I will just say that you will be pleased. How they handle Louise is really great. There was a moment where I was doing a song and I just broke into tears because it was so vulnerable. She’s nine, but when they let Louise have these moments of vulnerability, it is so earned. She’s such a tough cookie, but they let her be a kid for a moment. There is that in the movie, and there is a song. Even thinking about it, I get choked up because I just love her so much. I’m very protective of her, and so are they. It’s gonna be a really good movie when it comes out. I can tease that there is emotion, that it is cool and funny, and there’s dancing. It’s pretty great.

How do you feel about the way that The Last Man on Earth ended? What was it like to make four seasons of a show about a pandemic, and then actually find yourself living through a pandemic?

SCHAAL: It was really spooky. The cast got together and did a Zoom fundraiser, when we were first really in it, and it was spooky. Nobody likes the coincidence that it’s the same year that we said it would be. I remember I was walking on the street and someone was like, “Hey, it’s like Last Man, right?” And I was like, “Yeah, but I got to have a craft service table.” Also, I don’t think it’s comforting to see me on the street because my character lived. It was spooky. It’s also a testament to how smart the show was, in saying that was the way the world went. It didn’t even go into great detail, it was just a virus. It turned out that was, a hundred percent, all that would need to happen to do incredible damage to the human race. I miss the show. We really did think we were gonna get a Season 5. That caught everybody off guard and we were all very sad, but we still got four seasons. There’s always that.

What do you remember about your time on 30 Rock? Are there moments or memories that most stand out for you, from doing that show?

SCHAAL: It’s kind of a blur. I just remember being so thrilled to be working and standing next to Tina Fey. Every scene I had with Tina Fey was an absolute thrill to me. I looked up to her so much before I was on the show that I was probably too big of a fan to be a good co-star. I would talk really loud around her. I was so nervous because I liked her so much. I was actually doing something with Jack McBrayer [recently] and he reminded me of a storyline where I blurted out, “Our characters dated?!” I’ve gotta watch it again. But it was fun. And get to be on the SNL stage finally and do a live show, I got to check a box. Every comedian wants to be on that stage, doing something live. That was really cool. The whole thing was really great.

It just seems like you have so much fun, with the projects that play and the worlds that you play in.

SCHAAL: I know. It is so much fun. I do think about that sometimes. I’m a little bit weird, and that means that I get called into weird off-beat projects. I lucked out, being a little bit weird. It’s been really great. I just feel blessed, all the time. I love it. Damn, I’ve gotta go send some thank you notes!

The Mysterious Benedict Society is available to stream at Disney+.

KEEP READING: Tony Hale on 'Archibald's Next Big Thing Is Here' and Which Muppet Inspired Him on 'Veep'



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