Tony Todd really needs no introduction. The actor has been is so many favorites and cult classics that his resume is a mile long. With his infectious smile and deep voice, Tony was born for acting. Tony started out in 1986s Platoon and Lean on Me (1989), he would star in Night of the Living Dead (1990), and in 1992 he would land his iconic role as Candyman.

Some more notable areas of work are 1996s The Rock starring Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery and the Final Destination franchise as coroner William Bludworth.  

Tony also has a great voice acting background. He has portrayed The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, he has voiced Darkseid in several DC animated films, and he was the voice of Zoom in 15 episodes of The Flash. 

We are thrilled and honored to have Tony sit down with us and talk a little about his career and his upcoming projects including Venom in Spider-Man 2 the video game. 

Night of the Living Dead

GVN: I’m gonna jump right in. Your first foray into horror was actually the remake of Night Of the Living Dead. I was curious if you had a certain approach when I came to playing Ben?

Tony Todd: Well, I had been a fan of Dwayne Jones after seeing him at a drive in Night of the Living Dead. And I was toying around with my career decision and timing. But when I saw him on screen, I felt absolutely validated. So, when the opportunity came to reprise what he did, I was, I was honored, and wanted to make sure that I did the job.

GVN: Great. Can you tell me the process of getting that role?

Tony Todd: Forrest Whitaker told me about the part. And I went to see Tom Savini on my day off, and he did try to back away from me and stuff and say, No, no, no way.” I kind of said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” First time in my life I made a director, in a gentle way, listen to my take on the character.



GVN: Yeah, it’s an amazing performance. Now speaking about Tom Savini, what was he like as a director since this was his first feature film?

Tony Todd: Yeah, he was great. He was also an amateur magician, as am I. So, we had that commonality. He, thought he got 50% of what he really wanted to shoot. We had George Romero there as well. And I think they sometimes you just shoot and you have to edit as you go.

GVN: Interesting. So, Romero was on set a lot? Just helping out?

Tony Todd: I think he was there helping Tom as they went. I mean, I know he trusted him because Tom was his special effects guy for years. I think George was protective of his source material. One of the reasons that we even made that film was when they shot the original, they neglected little things about ownership. And it quickly became public domain. So, this is their chance to make this film and own it so they can finally reap their deserved profits.

GVN: It must have been amazing working with such a talented cast.

Tony Todd: Yes. Tom Towels, Patricia Tallman, William Butler.

GVN: Yeah. That’s such an incredible cast. That must have been an amazing shoot.

Tony Todd: We had a blast, man. It was six weeks of shooting nights outside of Pittsburgh. And you know, during that shoot my son was just born. It was fantastic. And, I was playing a hero, which I felt was important as my first film after the birth of my son.

 

Candyman

GVN: You, of course, were in the new Candyman film. What was it like working with the very talented Nia DeCosta and also revisting that role?

Tony Todd: It was like a reunion that was magnificent. And I’m so honored about the reception of the film. And the fact that it’s considered a financial success, also the fact that it was directed by a woman. Also, I loved that it was set entirely in the city of Chicago, which gave birth to the original in the first place. I’ve been carrying this character around for 30 years. Okay. On my own. So, the fact that somebody has the intelligence and the insight to want to bring it back for a new generation, what’s not to love?

GVN: Yeah, absolutely. Now, did she give you much direction as far as how to play the character?

Tony Todd: No, she trusted me. But I mean, she pushed me in a way that any competent director should. Even though you only hear me say one line, we recorded about 30 lines that didn’t make the final cut. Maybe some of them would be used in the upcoming DVD? I don’t know.

GVN: Well, you are certainly great in the film. If you were offered a new standalone Candyman movie, would you do it?

Tony Todd: Of course. But I think where they’re going is expanding Candyman into something bigger. As they said, he’s the whole damn hive. I see him more as a leader of an all-new movement. And, not in a black power movement. I’m just saying that he is the OG. Right? And I think that would be an interesting avenue to explore.



GVN: Yeah, it is interesting that they kept it wide open for a bigger universe.

Tony Todd: It allows for different stories to be hold. Different men, perhaps his Candy Women out there, you know, it’s the right moment for this. I love that it’s, it’s inclusive. You know, any pain is universal, right?

GVN: Yeah, absolutely. So now, what’s something that you hope the next generation gets out of Candyman, both the 90s version and the 2021 version?

Tony Todd: Well, I don’t want to be part of canceled culture, or critical race theory. We have classes that don’t even bring up the fact that thousands of African Americans were lynched. We don’t want to cancel that out. So, I like that Candyman addresses that, whether it’s through shadow puppetry, or whether it’s through recreation. Like how the original Candyman began, the fact that he was lynched for falling in love with a woman that wasn’t of his race. Okay, that can’t be canceled.

GVN: I think it’s very important to put a critical lens on the ugly side of this country.

Tony Todd: Yes. It may be ugly but it happens. And, the only way that you can truly eradicate these problems is to deal with them. Right? And to expose it, I was taught that art is supposed to lift the mirror up to society. Okay. And I think the greatest writers in history have done that whether it’s novelists or great playwrights who have always wrestled with the situations that were in front of them. When we had the AIDS epidemic, we had great plays like Angels in America, and onward and onward throughout time to the civil rights movement. We’ve had great authors come out of these times and I have a strong feeling that these last two years we’ve been living through, somewhere out there is a great American novel. Somewhere out there is going to be wonderful movies that are made from this experience that we all share.

GVN: Yeah, I think we’ve all been kind of living in this collective nightmare. But I see you’ve been quite busy looking through your IMDB page.

Tony Todd: Yeah, it’s been unbelievable. One good film I gotta mention. Bernard Rose and I re-teamed for a film called Traveling Light. We made it right at the beginning of the pandemic, and it ends on the day after the George Floyd tragedy. And we’re both quite proud of it.



GVN: Excellent. So, can you tell fans when this film will be out?

Tony Todd: Yeah, we debuted it Beyond Fest in LA. He wants to take it on a national tour, to 14 major cities and then offer streaming. So sometime in 22, it’ll be available.

 

Venom

GVN: Great. Looks like we have time for one more question. So, while we’re on the subject of upcoming project. I heard you are voicing Venom in the new Spider Man video game. That must have been really fun.

Tony Todd: Well, we’re not done yet. But I’ve done about three sessions. It’s going to be incredible. It doesn’t come out to 2022-23. I’m a gamer myself. So, when I got the job, I thought I was going to go through the roof because I couldn’t talk about it. I thought I would have to keep my mouth shut until 2023 but they dropped it.

GVN: That’s very exciting. Thank you very much take taking the time to answer some questions.

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