Terrificon 2016: Talking versatility, Beginnings and Zoom with Tony Todd
His voice when need be can be downright terrifying, but his personal demeanor is one of the most peaceful I’ve ever known. From the way he stands to how he treats his fans. Almost three weeks ago I had the honor of speaking with one of the entertainment genre’s most adaptable players. If there were a fantasy team for this line of entertainment, you’d sure want him on your starting rotation. He is the Scion of Scream and now Barry Allen’s worst nightmare on two feet: Tony Todd.
Graphic Policy: Before we get started, thank you so much for your time.
Tony Todd: Thank you.
Graphic Policy: It’s safe to say that you’ve run the gambit, Star Trek, Candyman, Transformers, and now The Flash.
Tony Todd: Nah, I haven’t run the gambit yet. Not in this casino (laughs)
GP: Fair enough. However in this line of business you’ve certainly run the gambit.
Tony Todd: Okay, sure.
GP: How do you keep up with all the franchises and which one is your favorite?
TT: None of them. All of of them. As actors it’s hard because each role is personal. All of our body of work encompasses something and a part of us. Each role, they are all children to me. Each of them different. Some of them had special needs. Some of them were A students. Some of them were bad boys. The ones I remember the dearest are the ones that didn’t work to be honest with you. Those are the ones that aren’t even on this table, but I remember them because those are the ones that were flawed. You think to yourself as an actor, what went wrong? If I could do it again, what would I do different? At the end though I’m happy because I got the chance to experience what each one of them brought to the table. I’m happy at this point in my life. I have a body of work that people seem to enjoy. There’s no distinct one that people seem or come and go to. Although this one for sure seems to be Zoom. That’s very recent and I try to stay recent and that’s very important.
GP: Well I’d say you’ve done very well in that.
TT: I also got this new one called Holyoke on a show called Dead of Summer.
GP: Yes on the Freeform channel. A very good friend of mine and I watch the show Pretty Little Liars (PLL to you cool kids) that comes on before it. So I’ve seen the promos many times for it. (laughs)
TT: Yeah man! It comes on right after that show, you gotta give it a look. It’ll even things out.
GP: I will, I will.
GP: So just at a glance you are a pretty tall guy. You have such huge stature. What was the driving force for you, and made you decide that you wanted to be an actor instead of lets say a professional basket ball player or something of that nature?
TT: Well I love basketball, don’t get me wrong. To be honest one of the things that drove me in this direction was I really couldn’t play basketball. When I was in High School the basketball players had all the perks. Which meant all the girls.
Then one day my English teacher gave me a copy of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Now I was a huge comic book guy. So I opened that, it was like a comic book come to life. I said to myself “I can do this.” She told me I could do this. I will never forget her. Mrs Reynolds. She was running the drama program and she told me to audition. So I did. Now I didn’t get the part but, she gave me the number one curtain pull. I was a sophomore, I was wanted so I embraced that task with everything I had. I was good at it. Sometimes I pulled it before it was supposed to come up I was so excited. (laughs)
GP: Wow talk about humble beginnings! A stagehand!
TT: Yeah man, I was a stagehand! You know what though? I loved it. So much that when the next production rolled around, which was Dracula. I wanted to play Dracula so bad. Now I didn’t get Dracula (laughs) but I got to play Van Helsing. Which was very cool because that part had a lot of talking. Even though, nobody really cared what he had to say they just waited for Dracula to come on and all the girls would just swoon. (laughs)
I will tell you though it all comes full circle in the end. I just did an audio recording for Dracula. So I finally got to be Dracula! It’s going to be on Fangoria Music. It comes out soon. So you know the lesson in that is sometimes what you think you want, isn’t what you need. Sometimes what you need is right in front of you. Some of can see it, and some of us can’t.
GP: Well I had no idea that Zoom was so philosophical. What’cha doing here Tony Todd? (laughs)
TT: Hey man!
GP: I have to say your candidness is absolutely great. You have no canned answers and just are very honest.
TT: Well I speak from the heart. It’s all I know.
GP: The way it should be. Now I think it’s fantastic that you’ve been able to keep so current. You have to be happy with the fanfare going on.
TT: Oh I am. It’s terrific.
GP: With that being said what does Comic Con mean to you personally?
TT: Well aside for the perks. It’s a way to touch and connect with our fanbase. I mean I know some actors who wouldn’t dare be anywhere near this. For me though, I dive right in. I like to know what people feel about things. Particularly current stuff. Which is all great.
The ones that really hit me though, is like the gentleman you saw me interact with just before we started. I mean he’s known me since I was five years old. Then there’s a lot of special needs kids, who when they come here with all us, they feel like they belong. All because they can identify with one thing. For example I had a little kid earlier who told me that he loved the Zoom voice so much and he wanted to record it. So I did the voice and said “I am the fastest man alive!” For that one moment that mere 30 seconds, he was totally focused. So to me that matters. Then a half hour ago, I had three police officers from Waterbury. I knew they were cops because I have cops in my family. They tried to be undercover but I told them I’d reach back and we are going to do a raffle.
GP: Well that’s great!
TT: Yeah so, for a minute for them they were able to let go of that sternness and tightness and just be real and relaxed. That was a great moment for me. It was real. We are all human beings at the end of the day.
GP: Sounds like you gained some new fans in that moment.
TT: Fans and friends, I’d like to say.
GP: Works both ways sir. Before I go, where do you see yourself going forward with The Flash?
TT: Well I mean I’m not in the writers room, but I know I’ll be back. The last thing they told me at my last recording session was “Don’t think you are going to get away from the DC Universe.”
GP: I most certainly hope not. Thank you for your time this has been great.
TT: No problem at all.
Thus concluded a conversation with one of the coolest, most down to Earth people I have ever met. Never taking himself too seriously and always willing to stop at a moment to interact with a fan. Even while we were doing this interview, which I thought was great.
On a personal note he really liked my New England Patriots digital camoflage hat so much that I just handed it over. Hopefully I succeeded in converting another Pats fan.
Just a great experience all around. Sure you can try to say his name in the dark to the mirror three times and get him to appear, but the only way to really appreciate what he does is to meet the man himself.