Tony Todd is a horror icon, if ever there were such a thing. Best known for his leading role as Daniel Robitaille in the Candyman franchise, Todd is back with a new movie, Immortal, which arrives on demand this week. The new horror anthology was written, directed and produced by Rob Margolies, with Todd on board as part of the ensemble cast.
Immortal sees a group of characters who are left staring eternity in the face with uncertainty and fear like they’ve never imagined. The movie follows Chelsea, a high school track star who comes clean about sexual misconduct with her coach only to find out her confession might be too late; Gary and Vanessa, a young, expecting married couple who scheme a morbid solution to their financial issues; Ted, a man filled with sorrow who agrees to euthanize his cancer-ridden wife Mary; and Warren, a young man with little direction in life who is forced to discover his new gifts after a tragic accident.
I recently had the chance to speak with Tony Todd in honor of the movie’s upcoming release. We discussed what drew him to the project, his insane output at this point in his career, his possible return in the Final Destination franchise and more. Enjoy.
This is a horror anthology that is told in four parts, and you anchor one of those chapters. Can you tell us a little bit about your character Ted and what he’s going through in the part of this movie that you anchor?
Tony Todd: Well, my friend Robbie Bryant who I’ve worked with three times before brought this project to me and believed that it would appeal to me because he knows my theater background. I read it and playing a cancer survivor really appealed to me.
Horror anthologies are among my favorite things within the genre. But this one has a through-line. It has an anchor. Is there anything that you can compare it to in terms of stuff that you’ve seen or stuff that you like within the genre?
Tony Todd: No, not at all. I think because we touched on what would be a lot of as real-life situations but through a supernatural vein. I think all four stories are so widely diverse that it’s got something for everybody. It’s like being in a spice cabinet in your kitchen. You need some lemon, you got it. You need vinegar, you got that. I just thought it was a poignant story and a first time director. [Rob Margolies] and I met a couple of times for lunch, then we agreed to have rehearsals before we started, which is also always helpful. We only had like three or four days to shoot. So that was important to me.
You kind of touched on it but your output is insane. You have something like ten projects in post-production right now.
Tony Todd: I was busy in 2019 man [laughs]. I was all set for a record-breaking year. But like everybody else, unpleasantly interrupted. But at least I had enough in the can to satisfy the fans for a couple of seasons.
At this point in your career, what keeps you going? How do you decide what projects to dedicate your time to?
Tony Todd: Well, I have a great team. They get projects and present to me what they think is really great. And sometimes it comes outside the box. Like in Robbie Bryant’s case. Make sure you read this because sometimes… technically they’re obligated to present you what they consider the best offers. But they know me now and they know that sometimes quirkiness appeals to me. This was beyond quirky. This was meaningful. What was important to me was love that Robin [Bartlett] and I tried to create in a short, weak period. Having a lifetime of being together and a possibility of what would happen if one of us were not there for each other. That’s what probably is really poignant in our segment. I think all of them are great. Dylan Baker is Wonderful. Samm [Levine] does a great job. Everybody does great.
You mentioned, first time director in this case. You are very experienced. You’ve worked with a ton of directors, near countless movies over the years. What is it like for you working with someone who is a little bit inexperienced in that way? What do you try to bring to the set to help when you’re working with a first time director?
Tony Todd: Passion. Passion, and that were on the same page because if you only had three or four days to shoot, you better be on the same page before the cameras roll. In this case, we were fortunate to get together, get to know each other. It’s all moment to moment and just let the cameras take it. Don’t do too much. Don’t do a little. But it was loaded. It was a loaded battlefield. That was an easy task.
Another thing you’ve done, which I think in terms of perfect casting to me, you have voiced Darkseid in several DC animated projects. I think you’re perfect for that part. Ava DuVernay is working on a New Gods movie, which is a live-action thing. She’s going to be casting that role. Would you have any interest in playing Darkseid, be it just the voice or even in person?
Tony Todd: Of course I would. But I’m not in control of those things. But I put it out in the universe. I’m also happy to be doing Scareglow for Kevin Smith on Masters of the Universe. The voiceover work has been able to continue doing this lockdown, which is great. Most actors have some sort of home recording situation now. It’s a little weird. I like being in the room with people, but you have to make do.
It’s awesome you’re at least able to still continue doing it. Another thing we have coming up, there’s a Final Destination reboot. What I’ve liked about that series is you have been there to anchor it. So I feel like if they’re gonna bring one person back, Bloodworth would be the guy. Have you had any talks about that? Or is that something you’d be interested in doing?
Tony Todd: Not official talks but [producer] Jeffrey Reddick dear friend of mine who created the original story. I have a long history. Originally, it was pitched as an episode of The X-Files, and I’m associated with X-Files. That’s when I first became aware of it. Then two years after that, he finally got the green light and I was brought in. So yeah, if it was up to me and Jeffrey, I’d be the person. But we don’t know yet. I know they’ve had several attempts at scripts. They’re still trying to figure out the right puzzle, if that’s the right term for Final Destination.
I think that is.
Tony Todd: Puzzle and place, right?
Tony Todd: If they can figure out a way to have falling logs off a spaceship I think we’ll be alright [laughs].
People right now need an escape. They’re looking for an escape. What makes Immortal a good escape for people?
Tony Todd: You’ve got four different flavors and four different, well-written tales of what will happen if, in a relationship, one of you can live and one of you has to expire. They’re very delicately told. They’re not hammered over your head. I’m very proud of our particular segment. It’s very much like the weird Twilight Zone [episodes].
If I’m not mistaken in coordinating with your rep, you ended up shooting something Friday right?
Tony Todd: I had three days on a top-secret music video project that will hopefully be out in October.
What is it like shooting something right now, given everything that’s going on?
Tony Todd: SAG [Screen Actors Guild] We have a great union. So we have protocols on set. We have temperature-taking every three hours. Quarantined dressing rooms and social distancing on set with smaller crews. Now, I wish I could tell you about a project that Bernard Rose and I worked on during this whole period [laughs]. So yeah, maybe in six months I can talk to you again about something else.
I would love that.
Tony Todd: Also, we’ve got Tales From the Hood coming out in October, the third segment.
Oh! That’s coming out in October?
Tony Todd: Yeah. Yes. I’m bombarded with riches, man.
Immortal arrives on demand on September 1.