“I feel like a lot of college students don’t get told this enough: everything is going to be OK. I know there’s so much stress and anxiety but everything will work itself out and you all will be OK,” said actor Tony Hale, who is best known for his role of Buster Bluth in “Arrested Development” and Gary Walsh in “Veep,” to PLNU students Friday.
Roughly 50 students of various majors showed up at Crill Performance Hall to attend a screening of “Arrested Development,” followed by a question-and-answer segment with actor Tony Hale.
Caleb Daniels, Point TV’s station manager, organized the event.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Tony a couple years ago by pure chance,” Daniels said.
Daniels’ sister attends the same school as Hale’s daughter, Pasadena Christian School, so he was able to talk to Hale one-on-one.
“We hoped that by bringing Hale in, he could speak into what it’s like to try and be successful in the film industry and be a Christian,” Daniels said.
The night started with a screening of “Arrested Development” so students who unfamiliar with the show could see Hale’s quirky, nervous and man-child character, Buster. After the show, Daniels brought Hale onto the stage for a few questions.
Hale spoke to students about what it takes to be a Christian in the film industry. He said he did not become a Christian until college and that faith is a challenge in television.
At times I tried to make being a Christian look good by saying ‘I’m Christian, but I also cuss,’” said Hale. “Now I take ownership of who I am. I know that God has my back.”
In acting, there is a fine line of what jobs to agree to; an example Hale provided was nudity. Hale said that he chooses a show based on the message; if he likes it or agrees with it, then he will accept. Turning down a job because it goes against your faith is not uncommon in the Los Angeles market.
“Some people refuse to do commercials to sell milk because they don’t like how cows are treated,” said Hale. For Hale, it all depends on his the project and if it aligns with his faith.
While faith is important, so is contentment. Hale explained that practicing contentment needs to happen now in the moment because contentment may not happen when goals are achieved.
“All I wanted in life was to be on a sitcom and when I got it, I wasn’t content because I didn’t practice contentment,” said Hale.
Practicing contentment can be a challenge in addition to managing the chaotic film schedule to spend time with family.
“Veep shoots in Baltimore so I spend several weeks there and my family is in LA, but I make an effort. Skype and Facetime are amazing,” said Hale.
Two rules that Hale always abides by are that he never goes two weeks without seeing his family, and when he is home from shooting, all his time goes to his family.
Hale’s wife, Martel Thompson, is supportive of his career and enjoys the time she gets to spend on set with him. She won an Emmy in 2003 for work she did as a makeup artist.
“It’s fun getting to go everywhere with him,” said Martel to The Point. “Actors are in touch with their emotions, so I learn a lot about how to feel your feelings.”
A highlight of the night was when Hale did his famous Buster voice. He went on to explain what an average day on set looks like. Shows typically shoot seven to eight pages per day but Veep, a show he is currently working on, shoots 20 pages a day.
“There’s lots of waiting around, getting to know others and great food,” he said.
Each show has a different feel to it, but in many, the cast becomes like a family by going out to the movies after filming or getting dinner. Some of Hale’s favorite television shows to date include “Portlandia,” “Master Chef Junior” and “Project Runway.” Hale admitted that seeing himself on television is not his favorite, but he would rather watch himself act than appear as a guest on a talk show. “There is a separation from the character and me,” said Hale.
Max Espinoza, a computer science major at California State University Fullerton, came to PLNU to visit friends, but also to hear from Hale.
“I love all of his work,” said Espinoza. “Whenever I see his name in a project, I am going to watch it because I know it will be great.”
The two hour question-and-answer flew by with Hale and students left pleased to have met the actor.
“He was super personable,” said Jonathan Paul, a junior math major at PLNU.
To end the night strong, everyone took a group selfie with Hale.
“For those that aren’t hoping to pursue a career in the industry, we hope it was a night of entertaining dialogue,” said Daniels.