Candyman and The Marvels director Nia DaCosta has opened up about Tony Todd’s role in the franchise reboot.
The original Candyman was released in 1992 and made star Tony Todd a horror icon. He went on to play the character two more times in Candyman: Day of the Dead and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. When it was revealed that a new film was being made, many wondered how Tony Todd was going to fit into the film. The answer was surprisingly complicated.
SPOILER ALERT FOR CANDYMAN!
In the film, the director and co-writer Nia DaCosta decided to take the character of Candyman in a whole new direction. Specifically, Candyman was revealed to be a number of African Americans who were unjustly killed with Tony Todd’s Daniel Robitaille simply being the first to have the name. Throughout most of the film, the role of Candyman was played by Michael Hargrove’s Sherman Fields who was shot by police in the 1970s. At the very end of the film, the various faces of Candyman appear in reflections before a digital de-aged Tony Todd appears as Robitaille encouraging Teyonah Parris’ Brianna Cartwright to tell everyone what happened.
In a recent interview with Empire Spoiler Special Podcast, director Nia DaCosta discussed bringing Tony Todd back for the role and how it tied into the other Candyman characters:
“We definitely knew Tony Todd would be involved in a very specific way – which is basically what we did…What’s so interesting is everyone’s like, ‘You have to bring him back, and bring Helen back.’ And it’s like, well, they both aren’t allowed to age, because they’re both ghosts. So that’s immediately the trickiest thing about it. The bad version is some weird cameo, like, ‘He’s a guy buying art in the gallery!’…It’s like, no – Tony Todd is Daniel Robitaille, is Candyman, and so we knew that’s what he had to be in the film.
The original script I don’t think had that kernel of an idea in it…But what it did have was the idea that Anthony himself would become Candyman at the end of the film. That really spoke to me. I was like, ‘Oh that’s so great, because I really want to talk about the fact that these people we make into martyrs or monsters are humans first of all.’ […] At least for me, it was about making sure we talked about the fact that this was cyclical and that history repeats itself, and this isn’t just an incident that happened to one guy named Daniel Robitaille. It’s actually an environment in which we live that allows for these things to happen over and over again.”
Here is the official synopsis for Candyman:
For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
Directed by Nia DaCosta from a script she co-wrote with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, Candyman stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, and Tony Todd.
Candyman is now in theaters everywhere. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the Nia DaCosta and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.