Tony Todd elaborates on his role as blind beggar “Eddie” in Bernard Rose’s FRANKENSTEIN! His honorable studies include “theater” at the, Tony Award Winning Eugene, O’Neil National Actors Theater Institute as well as Trinity Rep Conservatory. A voice over artist, a movie producer, stage performer, actor in both TV and film, singer, and an undeniable force in the horror community. The one interview where I wish sound was an option. I am with none other than Tony Todd.
Terror Time: Tony, I am so honored to be with you again for another one of our favorite past times together. Really great conversation! You recently attended the Days of the Dead convention in Burbank, CA. During a panel with director, Bernard Rose, a film you both kept coming back to was the 2015 movie FRANKENSTEIN. So let’s shine more light on it!
Tony Todd: Good to be talking to you again, Amy. One of the best interviewers on the planet. Wish we’d been able to talk face to face, but my current work on, Free-Form’s DEAD OF SUMMER up in Vancouver, and Night reshoots in LA for WEST OF HELL, prevented that. But soon!
Terror: We certainly will! And excited for these amazing projects you have coming up but I’m enamored by this amazing film that came out last October. What was the lure to playing the role of “Eddie” in FRANKENSTEIN?
Tony: Bernard Rose has always been one of my very favorite directors, ever since we had the chance of bringing CANDYMAN, birth in 1992. Seems like yesterday. Once again, my manager, Jeff Goldberg brought to my attention, that Rose’s “Bad Badge” production was bringing to the screen, yet another version of “Mary Shelley’s,FRANKENSTEIN. I’d first read the novel at 14, after first watching, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, upon reading the novel, I was so impressed by first person narrative of Ms. Shelley’s words. So poetic and tragic. Anyway, Bernard and I took a meeting, He convinced me he was staying very true to the narrative and that the emphasis was “Man is the Monster.” I expressed that my only hesitation was in accurately playing a blind, homeless blues musician, not because I didn’t relate, but I’ve got too my Blues musicians as friends. Singing isn’t my forte. But he trusted me, assured me I would be an emotional lynchpin, and I got to work. honing up guitar skills, singing in the shower, calling my dear friend, Jerry Lawson, former lead singer of the acapella, singing group the persuasions, and listening to lots, and lots of Muddy Waters. Bernard had secured the rights to “Mannish Boy.” And our journey began.
Terror: Your chemistry with Bernard is so very enchanting! And you merely had weeks from thetime you took the role to shooting. So you called on some blues musicians friends of yours. What was their key component in helping you provoke the “Bluesy” Tony Todd?
Tony: All of my musical friends, key advice was to tell the story through song, Be truthful, and use song as action. My character’s debut, in the infamous 6th street tunnel, was legendary. From Parking lot, to underground. A Rose touch..look closely and you’ll see some actual homeless people enjoying themselves and our filmic confusion. Even the scenes on LA streets, were shot real time, and underground. Adds a great touch between reality and film. “You can’t talk. I can’t see. You are a friend to me my brother” ~ Eddie Child
Terror: That organic inclusion was an immediate draw both visually and emotionally! Bernard has stated ‘Tony gives the film its heart” and you absolutely do. Eddie is vital to the evolution of Xavier Samuel’s lead as Adam. It’s a mesmerizing dynamic to have your character, who is blind, be the paradigm between the two characters. What was a trait you knew Eddie had to have to make the dynamic work?
Tony: Working with Xavier Samuels was so easy. A rare quality. I could immediately tell he was bringing and delivering his all to our imaginary situations. Our very first scene together, was arriving at the dumpster, and sitting in the alley. Just everyday, soulful stuff of dreams. There are some background to Eddie that Rose left on the floor, but fact that I got to tell the story, still remains on screen. Eddie, Just like Monster, was looking and needing for someone, to share their soulful realities, without judgement, or prejudice. Eddie adopts Monster, sight unseen. I felt being Blind, and searching for responsibilities, was a beautiful saving grace.
Terror: Your commitment to this character was undeniable in translation to screen! The film was released last October. What would you like to see happen with it now and going forward?
Tony: In spite of global glowing reviews, and 100% on Rotten tomatoes, I feel our distributor has dropped the ball. This film like CANDYMAN, will grow in time. We need true horror, and film fans to take a look, and please spread the word. This is a movie, that I’m proud up. It’s intelligent, passionate, sad, humbling, and important. Instead of some of the schlock that’s feasted to horror films, I pray people take a look, and see what’s possible in the world of Horror, and film!
Terror: Tony, we will certainly light the fire for this very deserving film! So if you need a fix on a good film, watch FRANKENSTEIN! Part II of this will be Bernard Rose talks with Shannon McGrew about FRANKENSTEIN next week!
And Tony and I will be back with the amazing life of Tony Todd very soon!