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It appears that (most of) Hollywood has finally caught on to the idea that adapting a series of books into a TV show can be a more efficient way to tell the whole story than squeezing it into a movie franchise. A newer example of this trend is The Mysterious Benedict Society, one of the more recent 2021 TV shows on Disney+, which is inspired by Trenton Lee Stewart’s books about a group of extremely talented and intelligent orphaned children who are enlisted to help an eccentric adult (Tony Hale) stop a sinister threat he is unfortunately close to. You may find that the Arrested Development cast veteran is not the only one from The Mysterious Benedict Society cast you recognize when we go through the highlights of their career one by one, starting with the titular protagonist… and antagonist.
Tony Hale (Mr. Benedict/L.D. Curtain)
For his third TV show based on a series of children’s books (after Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and the animated Archibald’s Next Big Thing), Tony Hale pulls double duty as both the main adult hero and central adult villain (twin brothers separated at birth) of The Mysterious Benedict Society, which is also his biggest Disney project since voicing Forky in Toy Story 4 in 2019. The two-time Emmy-winner (both for playing Gary Walsh on the Veep cast) has lent his voice to many other notable animated projects (such as the Arlo the Alligator Boy cast), but is also known for many live action movies of a great variety, from Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell to The 15:17 to Paris from director Clint Eastwood. Ironically, he will next appear physically opposite a CGI dog in the live-action Clifford the Big Red Dog movie.
Kristen Schaal (Number Two)
Another veteran of the Toy Story movies who voices several acclaimed cartoons (such as Mabel Pines on Disney Channel’s Gravity Falls) is Kristen Schaal, who joins the Mysterious Benedict Society cast as Mr. Benedict’s number two associate, aptly named Number Two. Since playing the Number One fan of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie on HBO’s Flight of the Conchords series, the comedian has become one of the most popular forces of her craft thanks to her unmistakable voice and roles like the female lead of Fox’s apocalyptic sitcom The Last Man on Earth, the Dave Bautista-led action comedy My Spy, and the 2020 sci-fi comedy threequel Bill and Ted Face the Music as the daughter of George Carlin’s character, Rufus. Fans of Bob Burgers are awaiting her reprisal as the voice of Louise Belcher in the long-awaited theatrical spin-off.
MaameYaa Boafo (Rhonda Kazembe)
Another adult character who assists Mr. Benedict with his adventures is Rhonda Kazembe, played by MaameYaa Boafo, who is a talented Pakistani-Ghanaian actress known in her native country for short films and TV shows such as the romantic comedy series An African City. She landed her first major acting role in the United States with a 2014 episode of Madam Secretary on CBS before appearing in the acclaimed indie dramedy film The Family Fang with Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman (another Arrested Development alum, who also directed said film in 2015). Boafo would later earn further guest spots on hit TV dramas like Iron Fist (one of Netflix’s Marvel TV shows) or The Blacklist and Chicago Med on NBC before landing the starring role on the short-lived legal drama Bluff City Law and a recurring character on Season 2 of Ramy, the Golden Globe-winning Hulu original comedy.
Ryan Hurst (Milligan)
As the Benedict Society’s bodyguard, Milligan, we have Ryan Hurst, who previously worked with Disney as part of the Remember the Titans cast after making an impression in cinema as a paratrooper in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan before later enlisting in the war again for We Were Soldiers in 2002. In addition to other big screen credits like the Coen Brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers or Rango - the Oscar-winning, animated western with Johnny Depp - the Santa Monica native is known best as a recurring star and series regular on various TV hits, from playing Opie on the Sons of Anarchy cast to joining the Walking Dead cast in Season 9. He has also been seen in the year 2021 on CBS’ reboot of S.W.A.T. and on Paradise City (featuring Bella Thorne) - an Amazon Prime original rock ’n roll horror-fantasy series.
Gia Sandhu (Ms. Perumal)
In her motion picture debut in the 2011 horror drama The Moth Diaries, Gia Sandhu starred opposite Irish Scream Queen Sarah Bolger before landing a recurring spot on the CW action adventure series Nikita with Maggie Q in the title role. This would lead to exceedingly larger roles for the National Theatre School of Canada graduate, such as a few episodes of the acclaimed Asian-Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience, the Netflix exclusive miniseries dramedy The Indian Detective, and an appearance in the big screen dramedy A Simple Favor - also starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively - in 2018. Her biggest role to date may be as a part of the Mysterious Benedict Society cast as Ms. Perumal - a tutor and motherly figure to one of our young heroes.
Mystic Inscho (Reynie Muldoon)
Said young hero, to be more specific, is Reynie Muldoon, played on The Mysterious Benedict Society by Mystic Inscho, who is noted for being an extremely bright, young artist whose talents range from dancing, acting, martial arts, playing multiple instruments, and singing in various languages. The 12-year-old put most of these skills on display while on the national broadway tour of the stage adaptation of director Richard Linklater’s hit 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which he played 10-year-old guitar prodigy Zack Mooneyham. After a screen career that consists mostly of small TV roles and short horror films, Inscho has easily landed his biggest on-screen break yet as one of the intelligent young members of the Benedict Society.
Seth B. Carr (George “Sticky” Washington)
I would also call George Washington (otherwise known as “Sticky”) on The Mysterious Benedict Society the biggest role to date for Seth B. Carr if the 13-year-old did not already have such an impressive resume. While his film debut was uncredited, it was still in a much celebrated, critically acclaimed Oscar winner (2013’s Her), leading to guest spots on popular series like the Showtime crime thriller Ray Donovan or on the Superstore cast before having a pretty epic year in 2018 by starring as a younger version of Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger in Black Panther. This came after he had already earned a recurring spot on the Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast, for which appeared as a young Andre Braugher a third time in 2020 - the same year he was cast as the lead of The Main Event, a Netflix original that does for the WWE what Like Mike did for basketball.
Emmy DeOliveira (Kate Wetherall)
Years before she was chosen to play the resourceful and heroic Kate Wetherall on the Mysterious Benedict Society cast, Emmy DeOliveira began her acting career under more sinister circumstances. She made her acting debut playing a younger Kristina Lynn Adkins in a reenactment of her life before poisoning her grandmother at 16 years old in the true crime docuseries Killer Kids in 2012 and lending her voice to the Lifetime movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, starring Christina Ricci, two years later. DeOliveira has since moved on from murderous subject matter and on to more dark comedies, such as the TV Land original sitcom Teachers starring co-creators The Katydids and the Netflix original series Flaked starring co-creator (and Tony Hale’s former onscreen brother from Arrested Development) Will Arnett.
Marta Kessler (Constance Contraire)
As Constance Contraire (who makes up for her small stature with big brains and bigger attitude) on The Mysterious Benedict Society, we have Marta Kessler, whom you might recognize if you were a subscriber of Quibi and saw her on the now defunct short-form streaming app’s original thriller Survive as a younger version of Sophie Turner’s lead character. Otherwise, you would have had a better chance of catching her already extensive acting filmography if you are a resident of Russia, where the 12-year-old was born and began her career going by her birth name Marta Timofeeva. The actress is actually known best in her native country for horror flicks like Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (which is not a John Wick spin-off) or the visually stunning sci-fi sports flick Cosmoball - both of which were released in 2020.
It apparently takes some rigorous testing of ability and stringent analysis of character to decide if a child is worthy to be recruited into the Benedict Society. Well, it appears that, like with most Disney+ TV shows, the producers spared no effort in finding the most talented young actor possible to play the four young main heroes, in addition to the already well established adult members of the Mysterious Benedict Society cast. See how the performers match up to their literary counterparts and what mysterious circumstances they have in store when the series premieres on Friday, June 25, 2021.