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Tony Hale on ‘Veep’ and Playing the Bad Guy for a Change

“Maybe they can be each other’s friends,” says Emmy winner Tony Hale, of his two indelible characters: Buster Bluth on “Arrested Development” and Gary Walsh on HBO’s “Veep.” With Selina Meyer now ensconced in the Oval Office, right-hand man Walsh has his work cut out for him.

What’s with the facial hair?

My character on “Veep” doesn’t have an ounce of rebellion. I figured I’d get rebellious with my facial hair after we finished shooting.

We do see some glimpses of rebellion this season.

There are going to be touches. But keep in mind, Selina is his queen. There are parts where he tries to find his voice. But he’s pretty content being her lap dog.

Why is he so loyal to her?
I’m sure that goes back to some Mommy issues. Gary is one of those guys who never really had an identity. He attached himself to people to find who he was. He found this very powerful woman and he was like, “Bingo, I’m hers.” But he loves it. In his world, one day they would be married. In her world, I don’t think she even knows his last name. It’s so sad. If she ever leaves office, I think Gary will still be carrying her purse to the grocery store.

You enjoy the improv on set? 

It is not easy keeping it together. Because I’m in closest proximity to Julia (Louis-Dreyfus), I hear the small stuff she does. So if you see me turn my back or look in my bag, there’s a reason for that. I’m doing something incredibly unprofessional.

How did it feel to win the Emmy?

What was as exciting to me was being able to thank the theater company I grew up with in Tallahassee, Florida. I was a kid in the South, and I wasn’t really that into sports. I was kind of a spastic, creative kid. My parents found this theater, where I pretty much grew up. It allowed me a place where I could be myself and discover what I loved to do.

What’s next on your plate?

I’m doing “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” I get to play the bad guy. That’s a nice change of pace. It’s going to be fun to do something that my 9-year-old daughter can actually see. It’s going to be awhile until she sees “Veep.” Maybe in a few years she can see “Arrested Development.”

Will there be more “Arrested”?
I really hope so. What I always got excited about with “Arrested Development” was the element of surprise. I just never knew what (creator) Mitch Hurwitz was going to come up with. There are so many crazy twists on that show. If we hopefully continue with the story, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, what is going to happen with Buster?” He’s already lost a hand to a seal!

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