It’s Friday the 13th in L.A., and it looks like carmageddon on the most storied of all boulevards, Sunset. Against all the laws of physics (and some invented by the LAPD Highway Patrol), I somehow manage to be only five minutes late for my interview with venerable actor Tony Todd, who recognizes me immediately thanks to our very recent chat on the set of The Cold Descent.
(Oh, in case you don’t know — and if you don’t, you must be new to DreadCentral.com; welcome! — Todd is best known for his roles in the Candyman and Final Destination franchises and recurring appearances in TV’s “24” and “Chuck.”)
Unlike that day on the set of the horror-western, in which he was clad in cowboy garb and animal furs, Todd is fashionably yet casually dressed in an ensemble that’s so put-together, it even has a matching hat. We are sitting in the sunny diner of The Standard Hotel. Though he doesn’t look it, I ask him if he’s tired (either in general or of press), having just come off a low-budget, run-n-gun feature film in which he has a major, leading role and was needed all day, every day. He says no and adds, “There’s always something new” to keep him interested and alert.
That’s true. On the table in front of Todd is a new script he’s learning for a one-man play about America’s first African-American Heavyweight Champion, Jack Johnson. His longtime friend Ernie Hudson had to drop out of the show, entitled Ghost in the House, and so Todd will be stepping in next month. (If you’re in Kurtztown, PA, maybe you can still get a ticket for the March 8th performance; click here for more info.)
We talk a little bit about his past roles (I missed Season 7 of “24” and Sushi Girl… shame on me), and Todd says, “I remember everything. Things I did 20 years ago, I remember.” Being an avid consumer of memoirs of all sorts (I just finished Fosse, but I also love the ones by horror’s icons… I’ve read Lance Henricksen’s, Robert Englund’s, and Bruce Campbell’s to name a few), I ask him if he’ll ever take pen to paper – or fingertips to keyboard, as the case may be.
“No,” he demurs. “I’d write a cookbook before I’d write my memoirs. I love to cook.” He has good memories, though – we touch on his longtime association with the screenwriter of the first Final Destination movie, Jeffrey Reddick – so probably not much dirt for a tell-all, anyway. “Even though it was a long time ago, good people never go away. And everybody is somebody.” Always be nice, and remember… because who knows? “The valet outside might be running a movie studio someday.”
Todd assures me that even if I won’t be reading all about the juicy bits of his life in showbiz, I (and you!) will have plenty of T.T. to go around in the next few years. He’s got a few things he can’t talk about in detail in the works – including a possible reality show and the narration of an audio book of bedtime stories. (Hmmm, “Candyman” and the specter of Death reading me to sleep… forever? Not sure how I feel about that, though its undeniable Todd’s dulcet voice is the stuff dreams are made of.) He’s even toyed with the idea of being the spokesman of a haunted house attraction. But that’s also not a wholly solidified topic of conversation.
What he can talk about is VANish. That’s the gory new revenge thriller in which he has a small but unforgettable role. “People will thoroughly enjoy VANish,” he says. “Even the backstories are engaging.” While it’s not exactly a horror movie in the truest sense, Todd says there are “horrific effects” and promises “fingers cut off and gore…” Hey, what more can we ask for?
Related Story: Trailer Materializes for Bryan Bockbrader’s VANish
More Todd, perhaps? I asked him, as diplomatically as possible, what brought him out to do press for a movie in which he makes only a brief appearance and that he’s not a producer on. No stake in it, so why the generosity with his precious time? Todd goes back to his philosophy that “everybody is somebody” and it’s because he truly believes in the talent of VANish’s writer-director, Bryan Bockbrader. “I know it’s hard to get these things made [for new directors] and distributed so if lending my name on the Blu-ray box or whatever can help, I’m all for it.”
You can see VANish, a film Todd describes as “Hitchcockian,” when it comes out on VOD and disc February 24, 2015.
Featuring standout performances from Maiara Walsh (“Desperate Housewives,” Disney Channel’s “Cory in the House,” The Starving Games) and genre favorites Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination, Hatchet II) and Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn) and a story that puts a bold new spin on the action thriller, VANish is a high-octane trip through a no man’s land where trouble lurks behind every turn of its twisting plot.
Hoping to score a hefty ransom, three thugs viciously kidnap a drug cartel boss’ only daughter from her home in broad daylight. The captors imprison the young woman in their van, dictate terms to her notorious father, and then travel to the outskirts of the desert for the exchange.
What the amateurs don’t realize is that their victim is a force to be reckoned with on this violent road trip full of murder and mayhem. It’s hell on wheels as time ticks away and the pressure mounts. The kidnappers find themselves in increasing danger from the police, hit men, and crime bosses and must find a way to keep their plan in order before all hell breaks loose.