Final Destination 5's Tony Todd Names His Favorite On-Screen Brushes with Death
As William Bludworth, the coroner who's witnessed many a teenager attempt to cheat fate in Final Destination, Final Destination 2, and this Friday's 3-D sequel Final Destination 5, actor Tony Todd carries an eerie, prescient look in his eyes -- the look of a man who knows Death's secrets. Of course, Todd has plenty of experience himself toying with the agency of death in cinema, having starred in countless horror films, from the iconic Candyman series to the Night of the Living Dead remake to Adam Green's Hatchet and Hatchet II. So Movieline queried the horror icon: Which are the most memorable on-screen deaths he's either suffered, inflicted or witnessed over his 25-year career?
In addition to sharing his favorite career deaths, Todd shared reflections on his career to date, described what it's like to go on a sushi date with action legend Sonny Chiba, and discussed his passion project Eerie, PA, the indie crime pic he wrote and will make his directorial debut with. But first: Which movie deaths are dearest to Tony Todd's heart?
Todd landed one of his first film roles in Oliver Stone's Platoon, playing Bravo squad leader Sgt. Warren. Wounded in a firefight during the church ambush scene...
"My first death was in Platoon, in that second-to-last firefight. I'll never forget that, because a) it was the first one and b) we were in some strange country called The Phillippines, which was fascinating -- everything grows larger there. And it was Oliver Stone. It was immersive. We went to that mock boot camp, and we only got three hours of sleep a night, and would wake to firefights -- simulated firefights, thank God. It gave me a deeper respect for the military service, I tell you that."
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
The sequel to boogeyman tale Candyman reveals how the titular killer (Todd), once a Louisiana man named Daniel Robitaille, was tragically murdered at the hands of a lynch mob... and a bunch of bees. [Movieline points out that between Candyman 2 and My Girl, the early '90s were a time of heightened bee-phobia.]
"As a matter of fact, I think the same bee wrangler worked on both of those. Norman Gary, based out of the Sacramento area. You try to remember your crew and your cast; if you don't do that, what else do you have? I counted once in a moment of boredom; I think I've died over twenty times in films, one way or the other."
The Rock (1996)
Michael Bay would later cast (and kill in grandiose fashion) Todd in his Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, in which Todd voiced The Fallen. But in 1996, Todd had fun on another large-scale Michael Bay set, playing a mercenary who turns on his boss (Ed Harris) in The Rock.
"I think the way I was killed in The Rock was pretty inventive, because I got shot out at Alcatraz, over the San Francisco Bay by a giant nuclear missile and ended up in a fence post. [Laughs] You know, like a stuffed insect. But that particular sequence took over two and a half weeks to film. It was Michael Bay. Two and a half weeks. 'Basically, Tony we need you to get back up into the air, then we need you to wiggle your left finger.' Of course, it only translates to, what, twenty seconds of film? But then again, it's Michael Bay, and everything is big, big, big, big!"
Final Destination (2000)
Though he's one of few to avoid Death's gaze in the Final Destination films, the first installment in the series features one of his favorite death scenes -- one not involving his character, William Bludworth.
"I like one of the first kills in the first Final Destination, when the girl steps off the curb and gets hit by the bus. It was sudden, it didn't linger, it was a surprise -- I don't think anybody had ever seen that before. That was extraordinary."
Hatchet II (2010)
Todd reprised his role as Rev. Zombie for Adam Green's Hatchet II, which culminates in a showdown between him and Kane Hodder's swamp-dwelling killer, Victor Crowley.
"Most recently, I did Hatchet II. Kane Hodder, who's a good friend of mine -- crazy, but a good friend -- he kills my character at the end. I'm the final death in that one. Not only is it a kill, it's a three-step kill: I'm sort of the antagonist throughout, and basically we fight, he steps on me... [Laughs] And then he steps on the back of my neck, then he's still not done. So he reaches and pulls out my spine, and there's a shot of my inner being being held up by a tree, and I think he does something else -- he throws me against a tree trunk."
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