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ALWheaties OFFICIAL Tony Todd website


Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999) (TV)
.... Captain Leonard Anderson

Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999) (V)
.... Candyman

Dogwalker, The (1999) .... Mones

Caught Up (1998)
.... Jake

Butter (1998)
.... Benzo Al
... aka Never 2 Big (1998)

Pandora Project, The (1998)

Wishmaster (1997)
.... Johnny Valentine

"True Women" (1997) (mini)
TV Series .... Tom

Shadow Builder (1997) .... Covey
... aka Bram Stoker's Shadowbuilder (1997)

Stir (1997)
.... Bubba

Univers'l (1997)

Driven (1996)

Rock, The (1996)
.... Captain Darrow

Sabotage (1996)
.... Sherwood

Them (1996) (TV)
.... Berlin

Black Fox: Good Men and Bad (1995) (TV)
.... Britt Johnson

Black Fox: The Price of Peace (1995) (TV)
.... Britt Johnson

Black Fox (1995)
.... Britt Johnson

Congo (1995) (uncredited)
.... Captain Wanta

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
.... Candyman/Daniel Robitaille

Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus (1995)
.... Seth

Burnzy's Last Call (1995)
.... Mistress Marla

Crow, The (1994)
.... Grange

Candyman (1992)
.... Candyman

Excessive Force (1992) .... Frankie Hawkins

Keeper of the City (1991) (TV)
.... Bridger

Love and Curses... And All That Jazz (1991) (TV)
.... Emile Gaston

Sunset Heat (1991)
.... Drucker
... aka Midnight Heat (1991)

Bride in Black, The (1990) (TV)

Criminal Justice (1990) (TV)
.... Detective Riley

Ivory Hunters (1990) (TV)
.... Jomo
... aka Last Elephant, The (1990) (TV)

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
.... Ben

Voodoo Dawn (1990)
.... Makoute

Lean on Me (1989)
.... Mr. Wright

Bird (1988)
.... Frog

Colors (1988)
.... Vietnam Vet

Peng! Du bist tot! (1987)
.... Undercover Agent

Enemy Territory (1987) .... The Count

Platoon (1986)
.... Warren

84 Charing Cross Road (1986)
.... Demolition Workman

Sleepwalk (1986)
.... Barrington

Notable TV guest appearances

"Star Trek: Voyager" (1995)
playing "Alpha Hirogen" in episode: "Prey" (episode # 4.16) 2/18/1998

"Soldier of Fortune, Inc." (1997)
playing "Joseph Karenga" in episode: "Missing in Action" (episode # 1.9) 11/22/1997

"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995)
playing "Cecrops" in episode: "Lost Mariner, The" (episode # 2.24) 5/5/1997

"NYPD Blue" (1993)
playing "Det. Eddie Hazell" in episode: "Taillight's Last Gleaming" (episode # 4.15) 2/18/1997

"Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990)
playing "Dr. Julius Tate" in episode: "If I Had a Hammer" (episode # 7.11) 11/27/1996

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993)
playing "Kurn" in episode: "Sons of Mogh, The" (episode # 4.15) 2/10/1996

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993)
playing "Adult Jake Sisko" in episode: "Visitor, The" (episode # 4.3) 10/7/1995

"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995)
playing "Gladius" in episode: "Gladiator" (episode # 1.10) 3/20/1995

"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)
playing "TV reporter Matt Rhodes" in episode: "Extreme Unction" (episode # 3.3) 10/28/1994

"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)
playing "Matt Rhodes" in episode: "Fits Like a Glove" (episode # 3.2) 10/21/1994

"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)
playing "Matt Rhodes" in episode: "Nearer My God to Thee" (episode # 3.1) 10/14/1994

"X Files, The" (1993)
playing "Augustus Cole" in episode: "Sleepless" (episode # 2.4) 10/7/1994

"Law & Order" (1990)
playing "Reverend Ott" in episode: "Sanctuary" (episode # 4.19) 4/13/1994

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)
playing "Commander Kurn" in episode: "Redemption: Part 2" (episode # 5.1) 9/21/1991

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)
playing "Commander Kurn" in episode: "Redemption: Part 1" (episode # 4.26) 6/15/1991

"Matlock" (1986)
playing "Billy Pierce" in episode: "Narc, The" (episode # 5.5) 10/23/1990

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)
playing "Kurn" in episode: "Sins Of The Father" (episode # 3.17) 3/17/1990

"Night Court" (1984)
in episode: "For Love or Money" (episode # 7.6) 1990

"MacGyver" (1985)
playing "Zimba" in episode: "Black Rhino" (episode # 5.8) 11/13/1989

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By Stuart Banks


Most recently to be found starring in the Babylon 5 TV movie, A Call To Arms, actor Tony Todd is a man who has played a lot of physical roles - such as Kurn (Worf's brother in Star Trek The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine), that suit his demi-god like height and size. Yet as Stuart Banks discovers this is a man who has an artistic soul as well.

Born and raised in Hartford Connecticut, Todd has learnt to fight to get what he wants as an actor. But acting is much more to him than just purely a way of achieving recognition and putting food on the table. By his own admission, it’s helped to stop him following a well path trodden by many an Afro-American.

Acting has seen him become well respected within the science-fiction and fantasy genre, appearing in such television series as Star Trek The Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine, The X-Files and Hercules.

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His credentials extend to film, including The Crow, Night Of The Living Dead, and of course, Candy Man - his most widely known role. However, what many will not know though, is that Todd received his first big break in film starring in no less a project than Oliver Stone’s Platoon, but his role was cut.

"I wasn't in it enough to get the attention of the casting directors. If he had left what I had done in, then it would have been better. But I was grateful for that opportunity.

"Oliver [Stone] was a crazy guy though. The thing is, he was getting off on cocaine at the time. There is a lot of that in Hollywood. I mean, I have battled it and won. Because I like to work, and not to have too much time on my hands," explains Todd with frankness rarely encountered.

"The reason I got into acting was because I wanted to change the world-and I still do," he says earnestly as he lights up a massive cigar and blows smoke in every direction.

"But back then I was unhappy with the government: how there was a rich and poor status, and the middle class was disappearing. People were becoming polarised. So I decided that I would use theatre and drama as a tool for propaganda and get people to listen. Acting has given me the chance to get a lot of people, who would not pay me a lot of attention, to listen to what I have to say."

Getting people to listen rather sums up this physically imposing man. Making them look beyond what they would expect from his appearance is what Todd enjoys doing.

"I was in a play called Cry Me A River, which was playing at Cambridge [in Boston, USA] and there were some people who were in the audience, who were of the upper classes, who loved the play. Consequentially I was invited to a lot of parties. When I went to them all they wanted to do was ask me about OJ Simpson. I don't know fucking OJ Simpson!

"But, I found I can turn things around through my work. To this day I find that people accept me, who wouldn't say anything to me normally. This makes them learn to treat me as a normal human being and not a suspect black man who might mug them in the dark!" he adds passionately.

"Also because I am so tall, my size works against me as well. Especially in Hollywood. There is a long list of actors who won't work with me because they don't want any one taller than them."

"I auditioned for Star Trek The Next Generation five times. They liked me, but didn't know where to put me," reveals Todd.

"Then the role of Kurn came up. They still had questions about my height. But I gave a damn good audition and won the role. When I think about Kurn, I find that there is something that I can relate to with his sense of honour, straightforwardness and his dignity, which is always a part of me. With the exception that he didn't look like me. This attracted me to the role.

"I think when it comes to acting, that if you can have something that identifies you with the character, then it is not to far too stretch."

Given the legendary on-set camaraderie between the Next Generation cast, what was it like working alongside Michael Dorn?

"Michael is a cool guy. I don't think he liked me that much at first. I think that stemmed from confusion as to who my character was. When you are a guest star on a series-these guys work together all the time. I found it humorous that they were sitting around talking about their Jaguars and the phones that they were going to have installed, and that is not really the reality that I come from.

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"It might be reality to them, which is one of the problems of being a series regular. That is why to this day, I haven't been a series regular. I like being a hired gun; do the job for eight days, then I get to go back to my life. I think doing too much work under those confines can be dangerous. Even the best of them can get jaded.

"Acting should be a joyous thing. I am getting paid to do things that we did as kids! Not just another job."

However, the way that Kurn ended up did not please Todd, but he does admit a certain amount of culpability for it.

"I didn't like what happened to Kurn in the Sons Of Mogh, but I signed the contract to do that before I had read the script. Which was my first mistake. Otherwise I wouldn't have agreed to do it. Kurn started to turn out a bit like Hamlet, and I think the fans missed some resolution to him. They should have done something. Kurn should have gone out in a fight!

"I think because he was Worf's brother he was always struggling against that loyalty. That was the only thing that kept Worf alive."

Before Todd completed working on Star Trek altogether on Sons Of Mogh, he really got the chance to show that he was more than the sum of his parts, playing Jake Sisko as an old man in the critically acclaimed fourth season episode The Visitor.

And for Todd, this has come to mean something special to him.

"This was a role that was totally different from Kurn. Again I had to audition for it, even though I was known to the producers. When I got the script, it was one of those rare occasions that happen for an actor; I just couldn't put it down. Also, I had a personal tragedy several months previous that I was able to tap into, which I used as a tribute. This gave me the chance to portray someone who was very close to me.

"This was not a big dramatic role like Kurn, it was small and closed in. These are the roles that I prefer, because then people have to really listen to you. This is what I feel that acting is about; the challenge. Having the good technique. Especially for a big guy like me-to play someone so reigned in, when I naturally have such large movement."

Todd feels that despite any critical acclaim for his performance in The Visitor, his abilities often get looked over in favour of the more physical roles. When speaking with him, you always get this feeling of a man who has more to give to audiences.

"Sometimes it can be difficult, but that is only because of the choice of roles that I have had shuffled out to me so far. I have a couple of things in the can which will show a different side to me.

"Even though I have done The Visitor, it still hasn't really helped me in terms of getting others to go beyond what they normally see me as. It is not something that frustrates me. You see in the industry there is a stigma about Star Trek. You get people who say they love it; people like Robin Williams, who wants to be involved. Then the powers that be - the producers - those that put money into shit like Meet Wally Sparks, the new Rodney Dangerfield film, or a Paul E. Shaw movie. You know? People who can't act, or make no cultural contribution.

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"There are higher people than you would think. I can't name any names, because it would really fuck with those who should know, but didn't know about The Visitor. I send them my tape, which is not quite the same because they tend to fast forward. They can't have time to sit down and watch forty-four minutes of it. I understand it though.

"People who saw it enjoyed it. I'm on-line, and saw two hundred and fifty postings. That was the value. What people said on the Internet meant a lot to me."

Having said all that, Todd thinks for him to have even got on to the show was quite an achievement in itself.

"Looking back, getting on to [the show] was an accomplishment," he says with a hint of pride.

"I had watched the original show. I wouldn't say it was my favourite show, but is within my top five of my awareness level. To even think that something from my childhood would still be in existence is mind boggling enough. But then to find my first scene is one the bridge of the Enterprise with Wesley Crusher and meeting my brother for the first time! So that was like `wow!'

"I thought I was going to explode! Yet everyone there kind of looked at me like, `this guy must be new'. But I was able to go and sit down in the captain's chair, which was a thrill! I didn't think that as an actor struggling to make it that I had arrived as you might do, because I was a Klingon: in the minds of the powers that be, I was playing a cartoon. For some reason they don't respect it," he says.

"Look at the Academy awards - I am not saying that a lot of films that were overlooked didn't deserve it - but there was certainly a lot of special effects orientated movies this past year.

"When the Academy awards come out and none of them get any credit? What does that tell you?" he asks with disdain.

"There is a love/hate thing going on. Again I preface it by saying that there is a lot of science fiction that doesn't necessarily deserve acclaim. But had they done them right, and not just big effects and flaws in the plot, then maybe would have come up with a film that really meant something."

Prior to returning in Candyman 2, Todd took the chance to work on the second season X-Files episode Sleepless. Again, his frank honesty came to the fore.

"This was a rushed job. As well as Candy Man 2 and The X-Files, I was working on Homicide, which is a show that I love doing - I am pretty lucky. I say to my agent, `I want to work on these shows and don't bother me with anything else', and I pretty much get to do that.

Because everything was so rushed, I didn't enjoy what I was doing.

"I liked the role, but because of all the pressures on me, and the speed that I worked, I didn't like what I was doing."

What was it like for Todd to work with Chris Carter?

"I met him and he seemed possessed. Producers tend to be very myopic, and the good ones care about the whole aspect of the show, and not just the numbers. I just recently read a statement by Chris saying that he was, `bummed out by the X-Files', and that he was thinking about quitting.

"I think that what he is saying is that he is going to pass it on to corporate entities to sell product. In order to keep something really special you need a person who is on top of it. Not in a dictatorial way, in a loving way.

"He also said something about that, `he didn't care for his writers', which I thought was quite harsh. I think the show has become overrated, it was better when it wasn't as large. You see? That is the machinery catching on."

Todd had also done work for a series called Them,(1996) which was due to air on the United Paramount Network last year, but that never made the starting line up. As he explains it, this was no fault of the show.

"We did a good job on it but it didn't fly. The advertising sponsors said it was, `too dark', whatever the fuck that means! So we didn't do it. I was willing to do it for five years. Now I won't sign again."

However, working on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, playing Gladius, was a completely different prospect to that of The X-Files.

"It was fun. But to tell you the truth, I took the job for two reasons. Firstly, working with Sam Raimi; I respect his history in the business. The second was New Zealand. I got to go there and hang out for twenty-one days in this beautiful land. The offer was right and the money fantastic, I couldn't refuse it.

"I thought Kevin Sorbo was a fun guy. We got to hang out; we went to see the stage version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was lonely for the company of another American actor. He kept asking me about things that were going on back in the States. At that time the show was starting to take off. It was in its second year and he was a nice, humble guy - you have got to look at his history. He didn't too much work. Before that he did commercials.

"He knew he was in a situation playing an icon. He knew that if he worked at it one more year he would be soon be looking at plastic doll figures. You know, going to the bank. But he was not affected at that time. I have not seen him in a year, but fame does weird things to people."

Speaking of the fame aspect, Todd is quite comfortable with his own, while at the same time being practical about how it can affect an actor.

"You can either end up believing what people say about you. Or you try to fight against and become a bitter person. In my situation, I don't have that huge fame thing happening. I have had several tastes of it. My fame comes and goes. What bothers me the most is when people go, `Candyman!' I liked the part, but that was years ago. Since then I have done a lot of other things.

"I don't like being called by any particular character. That to me is an insult as an actor. I understand that they mean well. I like the first Candyman, particularly. But little did I suspect what was going to happen."

Whether appreciated by Todd or not, most of his recognition by the general public, has come from these movies. And as Todd explains, the reasons for him being chosen came through the director seeing him in a film that no one had seen, and he believed in him. Something which Todd truly appreciates.

"I got a call from Bernard Rose, the director. He urgently wanted to meet with me. When I asked, he said that he had seen me in a film called Last Elephant, which I love. It was a film that nobody had seen, but he had managed to. When I met with him he was very honest. A lot of the time, when you have meetings with people in Hollywood, they can't tell you how they really feel. But he said,`I want you to be in this movie, you're perfect for it'.

"We then had to go through a period of three weeks where we had to convince the studio that his instinct was correct. The fact that someone was willing to fight for me so passionately. That he had a vision, and kept laying out what he wanted to do. He let me know that this was not going to be an ordinary job. [Bernard] was the reason why the first film was the success it was. He was a genius; he alienated a lot of people on the set. He was very passionate, and crazy. It is more than just a job.

"It is about the art, " he adds poignantly.

"The second film was more machinery. That was put in place of the passion. They even cast a woman who resembled Virginia. Everything was down in place. That was where it went wrong."

Todd had previously worked on another horror flick, Night Of The Living Dead, so he was not new to that experience. Again, it was a role that he chose to pursue.

"I adored the first film. I was in Pittsburgh doing a film called Criminal Justice, for HBO. I had this rumour that they were doing this re-make. I walked up to the office on my own, without my agent. I admire Tom Savini's work on special effects - I love movies, period. My favourites are old black and white crime stories.

"This was at a time when Last House On The Left was out. You had the first Halloween. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. All those first ones were ‘splatter’. These types of films were becoming prominent. IT was like a release: you got to see evil, and what it was, so you didn't do it.

"As soon as I met Tom, he said I was perfect, and that I resembled Dwayne Johns who did it originally. However, Tom's [Savini] passion for the film didn't continue, because the money was pulled from them halfway through making it. Night Of The Living Dead was my first disappointment within the Hollywood structure.

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"I could have sworn that was my first lead role, and that this movie was going to go flying through the roof. Certainly on paper it made absolute sense. That they had got it right. But they pulled the money and Tom literally had a nervous breakdown."

Todd made another contribution to genre film making when he worked on The Crow (circa Brandon Lee). Talking about this prompts a resigned laugh accompanied by the statement: "I have done all these troubled films!"

One wonders was this not a good experience for him. Especially with what happened to Brandon Lee.

"I get offers by all these weird people! The creator of The Crow [Alex Poyers] was another one of those weird people who cared about what he was doing.

"Why that shit went down with that film, I don't know. I know that Paramount was pushing us; we were shooting eighteen hours a day! Which is inhuman. They were rushing it. They wanted it done at that time for an August release. We were shooting in January through to March. Because of this rushing, they fucked up! Then when it happened Paramount passed the buck on! They sold the rights to somebody else. We'll never know who was really responsible. However I was not on set when it (Brandon Lee's accidental and tragic shooting) happened.

"The same thing happened with Christopher Reeve. We did a western film together, which was supposed to be series. But he stalled and went horse riding. That was when he had his accident. But if he had said yes, we would have been on location, and perhaps the accident wouldn't have happened."

Futurewise? According to Todd, there is talk about a Candy Man 3. Listening to him talk about this subject, he seems resigned to the fact of doing it.

"Financially it would be terrific for me, and that would be the only reason why I would take it. But people are fucking with me already calling me Candyman, so I might as well do it. But I’ll do it to use it - to go on.

"The only way I am going to do it is to get a package deal from the studio that picks it up, gives me other roles that are not related to that. And if Clive writes the script. If he sits down and really thinks about what he will be writing."

Finally, turning his attention back to Star Trek, Todd is quite clear about Voyager.

"I don't want to do Voyager, I don't like it. There is no place for me there. I don't think that I would work with the people who are on it. I could get on it if I wanted to. After The Visitor it would have to be a damn good script."

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