Tony Hale Interview: ‘Veep’
“The last episode and last day we just needed to help each other keep it together,” reflects Tony Hale about wrapping “Veep.” In our exclusive webchat (watch the video above), he adds, “We were such a family. The last scene for each character, everyone would gather around the monitor to hug, laugh and cry. It was one big emotional roller-coaster.”
For seven seasons “Veep” covered the political misadventures of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The biting satire was able to shine a light on a Washington D.C. run by cynical political ambition and zealous incompetence. The show has won three Emmys for Best Comedy Series. Hale played Gary Walsh, the devoted bag man to Selina, who was unhealthily obsessed with the President he served.
This Emmy-winning role had the actor sharing most scenes with Louis-Dreyfus. He reveals, “Some of my fondest memories would be in the morning. Julia and I would be in the trailer getting ready, going through lines, catching up on the day and making jokes. It was like this little sanctuary before we went on with the shooting.”
When it came to filming his last scene, Hale says, “I had all these flashbacks of the times I’d been next to Julia, reacting and doing these quips. I was described as a ‘bitchy mime’ because Selina wouldn’t let Gary speak. I was just thinking through that closeness and comic wave we rode together the whole seven seasons. And then they say ‘cut, moving on.’ I think ‘huh, are you sure?’ I’m holding my bag and I don’t want to give it up. It was a very surreal but special day.”
In the “Veep” finale, to become president Selina gets Gary to take the fall for an FBI investigation. On the tragic fate for his character the performer explains, “It made sense to me. Gary was in this incredibly dysfunctional addictive cycle with Selina. Like a dog returning to his vomit. What she did to him in the end is the only thing that was going to break him out. Selina sowed selfishness and cruelty, and she reaped a life of sadness and isolation. The one person who really cared about her, she used in the end. Not that ‘Veep’ is a moral tale but I love the full circle moment. Gary 100% enabled her behavior. He had a very sweet spirit and I wished for him to make healthier choices. But he made the choice his whole life to serve this very destructive woman, who only cared about herself.”
Hale also confesses that his work on the series has given him more confidence. “It gave me an environment to trust myself more. It was so open. If anyone had an idea you would be able to say it. Even if you failed miserably and it was a stupid ass idea, you could put it out there. It gave us such a renewed trust in ourselves and our ideas. This team play environment I can not be more thankful for. I now feel freer on sets to have a voice.”
And the actor did not have to give up the bag that Gary treasured so much. Hale reveals “I kept the bag. It’s in my closet. Every now and then I’ll walk by it. It’s such an emotional memory thing. I feel the leather. All of Gary’s insecurity lives in that leather.