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Tony Hale on working with Beyoncé in Verizon’s Super Bowl commercial

Beyoncé shocked fans at the Super Bowl on Sunday, using a Verizon ad to announce “Renaissance Act II” and release two brand new country songs. But BeyHive members with a penchant for half-hour comedies got a two-for-one deal, as the pop star appeared in the commercial opposite an unexpected partner: the “Veep” and “Arrested Development” star », Tony Hale.

Hale spent years of his career playing awkward, quirky beta males overshadowed by powerful women: “That’s one of my strong points,” he says, reflecting on what his new collaborator might have in common with Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter, “Arrested Development”) and Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”). He felt at home alongside Yoncé, however, he doesn’t really know how much she knew about him in return. “We really didn’t have much time to talk,” he laughs. “I didn’t ask him, ‘Have you seen my work?’ »

Verizon began hinting at a Beyoncé commercial in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. In a teaser, Hale works hard at a lemonade stand and says, “Wait, she wants me to squeeze all these lemons myself?” in reference to Beyoncé’s 2016 album “Lemonade” and the song “Hold Up”. In other, he chats with ReNeighthe giant crystal horse featured in the 2023 Renaissance World Tour.

Then on Sunday night, viewers got to watch Hale try to keep up with Beyoncé’s continued attempts to “break” Verizon’s 5G network – unveiling a Beyoncé robot, a Beyoncé concert in space, Beyoncé’s Twitch account and more again – before deciding to give the people what They want. “Okay, they’re ready. Ditch the new music,” she says at the end of the commercial, at which point “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages” hit streaming services.

Hale spoke to Variety exclusively about being there for Beyoncé’s big moment.

I can’t say that you and Beyoncé are a couple that I had ever imagined, but I’m obsessed.

We are the obvious couple!

I see that now.

I love the contrast of the most powerful icon, and then… me! The guy who usually plays the emasculated sidekick!

How did it happen?

It happened pretty quickly. I got a call from my agent, like, “There’s this opportunity to do a Super Bowl commercial.” » I was like, “This is great.” And then they said it was Beyoncé, and I was like, “What?“My daughter went to his concert and told me everything. I didn’t go, but she and I had just seen the movie “Renaissance.” I’m obviously a fan. The whole thing was incredibly cool and exciting.

The hardest part was that I couldn’t tell my daughter. My wife is a makeup artist, so she worked with me on the commercial, and for the next three weeks we couldn’t talk about it. We were like, “This is killing us. » She asked, “What are you guys doing?” I said, “Oh, we’re just filming this industry for a tech company.” She didn’t think twice about it.

When did you finally tell him?

They sent out these teasers throughout the week. I receive this text. She said: “Daddy? » I said to myself: “Yes? » She says, “I’m with my friend Lola and we’re breaking this down, and… Dad? She coded it. She’s also a huge Taylor Swift fan, and it’s all about clues and coding. She took over the lemons and me saying “wait” at the beginning of the teaser. I didn’t want her to see the teaser, because I wanted to record her while she watched the Super Bowl, but these teenagers are just too smart.

But I had a friend (who saw the lemon teaser) and said, “Is that Martha Stewart?” I’m like, “Dude, you’re path disabled.”

What was it like meeting Beyoncé on set? What did you talk about?

He’s just the nicest person. Obviously she’s incredibly talented, but she couldn’t be more down to earth. That’s the cool thing about this business: When you meet these icons, you see humanity. She is very normal and sweet.

We shot so much in one day. She had seven or nine costume changes – from a Barbie outfit to a presidential outfit – she was so busy. I was just in the same outfit, sitting around craft services. But in the time I spent with her, she just couldn’t be nicer.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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