Photo: Tony Todd has played some evil characters in his career, but he is the nicest down-to-earth guy you will ever meet, as our writer Jason Kerluck (also pictured) lets our readers know in this exclusive interview. Photo by Rod Denis – Biz X magazine
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL – BIZ X TALKS WITH TONY TODD
At the end of this past September, the region was treated to a visit by many celebrities from the horror and Sci-Fi genre. It was all thanks to recent Biz X Award winner “Windsor ComiCon” (WindsorComiCon.com), an event that brought the stars and their fans together again for the fourth year in a row.
As detailed in our article, immediately following the event, there was something for everyone who appreciates the world of super heroes, horror flicks, and comic books. But, it’s those visiting celebrities that take the experience to the next level for many fans.
To meet an actor face to face, when you have only watched them on the big screen is a treat indeed. For many, it was former wrestler-turned-movie-star Tyler Mane (Michael Myers in the Halloween movies and Sabretooth in X-Men) they wanted to meet. To their delight, while imposing in size, he was a gentle giant and fans left grinning ear to ear.
But for some, even Mane wasn’t geeky enough. That’s because while he has had his giant hands in many different franchises, he simply can’t beat the current King of Geekdom . . . the incomparable Tony Todd!
Biz X magazine seized an exciting opportunity, during the two day event, to sit down and interview this accomplished actor. And we were promptly taken to school when it comes to the world of movies!
Among his many acting credits, Todd has played Candyman, Kurn in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990-1991) and was the voice of the Fallen (2009) in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Get comfy and read on as we get to know the man behind the roles.
Biz X: Welcome to Windsor!
Tony Todd (TT): Thank you. First time in Windsor. I’ve heard about it all my life. Right over the bridge . . . I’ve been to Detroit plenty of times. Aren’t you guys’ kissing cousins?
Biz X: Oh yeah. Always been that way.
TT: Lots of marriages in between the countries.
Biz X: For sure, and for us going to a Red Wings game is no harder than going downtown Windsor. It’s faster for us to get to Detroit, than to see a Blue Jays game.
TT: That’s crazy!
Biz X: It’s an absolute thrill to meet you…
TT: Thank you.
Biz X: Ever since I was young…
TT: We are all younger once! (laughing)
Biz X: …one of my favourite episodes of (Star Trek) The Next Generation was when you were Kurn. And I loved that play up that we didn’t know who you were . . . . you were some jerk that was giving Worf a hard time…
TT: Why was I a jerk? (laughing)
Biz X: Because you were being mean to everybody! (laughing)
TT: (Recounting the scene) I come on board to figure things out and talk to my brother. They feed me (bleeping) food that was barely edible. I farted for four days . . . . I farted like an American! Not that Star Fleet was all American, it was many nationalities all represented. It was the future! We are all unified!
Biz X: Everyone was holding hands and loving each other.
TT: Thank you.
Biz X: We saw that back then, that sense of mischief, that smirk, that look like you’re loving putting people in those positions. We saw that unsettling look also in Candyman as well. Where did that look come from?
TT: Well, I was an only kid, and every Christmas I’d buy myself a new Monopoly set and I’d play it myself . . . I didn’t need other people. And the people I did invite over were stupid, I mean they were my dear friends, but they couldn’t play the game. They didn’t know when to buy Park Place or anything like that.
Biz X: They weren’t in on it . . .
TT: They would buy the easy (stuff), like Oriental Avenue and all that to be a slum lord all of their lives. I had other ambitions. I just wanted to be King of the Villains!
(Writer’s Note: While I thought Tony had gone on a bit of a tangent, I realized his Monopoly analogy showed his view of the world growing up versus those around him. He wasn’t happy doing what everyone else was doing, he was hungry and wanted more. This wasn’t going to be the last bit of cleverness he had in store for me.)
Biz X: You can see that, you see a character that has control over the situation. Now, you’re like geek royalty to so many. You’ve done Transformers, you’ve done The Flash, you’ve done Star Trek, and you’ve done horror stuff. You’ve done so many different things. You’ve done voice acting as well as acting on screen, and you come through so well when you’re voice acting. With all of that, which do you prefer?
TT: Well I come from the theatre, that’s my first love. I have my Masters in Theatre. I went to Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island . . . I won two Tony Awards. I’ve been on Broadway twice, as well as regional theatre.
Biz X: So is this a third thing you’re into?
TT: That’s my number one love! I was offered three plays recently, one was Richard the Third as Buckingham . . . couldn’t do it. I had an offer to do a play in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut in the play Sunset Baby, but SOON I’m going to have to go back to the stage. Every time I go onto the stage it feeds me in a way I cannot describe to you.
Biz X: I have friends that act on stage, and that sense of being in the moment, that linear story, start to finish, the whole story.
TT: It’s working with an ensemble people you’ve spent the last two or three weeks with working to that night . . . it’s like a salad coming to full life! Then after that I’ll get a call to do a TV show or a movie. I’ve been in some good ones . . .
Biz X: You’ve been in some amazing ones!
TT: But, those that you get are paper thin after you read Richard the Third.
Biz X: How do you top that?
TT: We had just seen a movie with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason, The Goodbye Girl, where he plays a Shakespearean actor that moves in. Have you ever seen that movie?
Biz X: No I haven’t.
TT: OK, well you’ve got to see it. It’s really funny, one of Richard’s early roles — he was already there. He was just having fun, the actor moves in and crashes (not wanting to ruin it for me) . . . da da da . . . you’ll see it! I’m not saying it’s my favourite move EVER. I don’t want people to get it wrong. Double Indemnity would be closer to that . . . Sunset Boulevard.
Biz X: So this is a list of movies we need to watch!
TT: You’ve never seen Double Indemnity?
Biz X: No I haven’t.
TT: You should be STRUCK from the Earth! (laughing)
Tony Todd interview continues on PAGE 45