The Final Wish is set to release January 24 in select theaters. The story follows a young man named Aaron, played by Michael Welch, who is down on his luck. Aaron is forced to return to his hometown to help his grieving mother, played by Lin Shaye, cope with the death of his father while he confronts his own past. Horror legend Tony Todd plays the role of Colin in this supernatural thriller. Colin, an associate of Aaron’s deceased father, acts as a waypoint and guides the film towards its shocking conclusion. Tony Todd was kind enough to speak with us regarding his career, acting, and the role.
Tony Todd recently received the lifetime achievement award from the New York City Horror Film Festival. I asked what it was like to win such prestigious accolades and to finally have his name where fans have felt it belongs, among the greats like Wes Craven, George Romero, Robert Englund, and so many others. He pointed out how odd it feels to receive a lifetime achievement award because “there is so much time, and so many other projects remaining in my career.” Lifetime achievement awards tend to be given to creators at the end of their careers, but Todd has no intention of stopping. He said, “I am perhaps in the third or fourth phase of my career.” As long as the parts continue and creators persist in calling him, Todd says he wants to keep acting. His terms are simple. Though he has the educational background and experience in the field to do work behind the scenes, he says he will keep acting “as long as I can keep doing it and I enjoy what I’m doing.”
In fact, acting and creating for the sheer love of the craft was a recurring theme for the interview. Todd never sought out awards or accolades, he strove to be the best actor he could be and to perfect his craft. He always believed that if he worked hard and did work he was passionate about, that the success would follow. He feels he is, at the core, a character actor. Caring deeply about characters, and sharing their truth through compelling stories is what got him started. That same attraction to strong characters and engaging writing is what drives him today.
The script for The Final Wish is what drew Todd to the role of Colin, he said, “Anyone who read the script would recognize it was great.” Jeffrey Reddick has sought out Tony Todd numerous times over the years.
Beyond his fondness for the script, what really made the project novel for Tony was the fact that it was able to secure distribution and launch a relatively quick theatrical release. He felt that getting the film from production to release in less than a year’s time was a testament to everyone who worked on the project.
The advice Tony offered other actors and creators was to “Find joy in whatever you are doing.” He recognizes that not all actors can have the opportunity to study in a prestigious, rigorous program like he did or have the chance to teach before going to their first auditions. He said some of his most gratifying roles and experiences were not always the most financially rewarding. For instance, it was always powerful to hear from Vietnam veterans who saw Platoon and said: “you guys got it right.” Not every role will be Platoon, but every role promises a valuable experience if you can find joy in what you’re doing.
Before the interview closed, I asked Mr. Todd what he hoped the new Candyman film would offer. He said “I think the creative team will do a great job with it, and I hope the Candyman character is done justice.” Again, being a character actor, the character is at the center of his focus.
See Lin Shaye, Michael Welch and Tony Todd in The Final Wish in theaters January 24, and expect to see Tony Todd in many more projects in the years to come.