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A Chat with Tony Todd (“Hatchet II”)

Tony Todd is often unjustly considered to be just a horror actor, but one only needs to take a look at his filmography to see that he’s working in countless genres. Indeed, his television work alone has found him bouncing from sci-fi (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) to comedy (“Chuck”) to action (“24″). Mind you, we’re probably not doing a whole lot to change that whole he-only-does-horror-movies perception by talking to him about his work as Reverend Zombie in the “Hatchet” franchise – “Hatchet 2,” by the way, is now available on DVD – but we did at least make a point of trying to ask him about as many different roles as possible. We did not, however, say the name of his most famous film five times in front of a mirror. (We’re not crazy).

Bullz-Eye: How are you?

Tony Todd: Good, good. Just going through the day.

BE: I can imagine. I’m sure they keep you busy. A tight schedule.

TT: It’s really weird when they give you someone for 15 minutes, then the next person, “You’ve got 15 minutes…” It’s like speed interviewing. (Laughs) But I guess it’s a necessary part of it. Where are you calling from?

BE: Norfolk, Virginia.

TT: Norfolk, okay. I just did a movie down in Petersburg, Virginia.

BE: Not too far away from here.

TT: It was great. Some of my best work I think I’ve done in a horror film.

BE: Which movie was that?

TT: It was called “Unbroken.” There’s a company down there called Stormcatcher Films.

BE: Right, exactly. Very cool! So…”Hatchet II.” You got to play Reverend Zombie again.

TT: Yeah, and doing the first one, I knew going in that this was going to happen. So I’m glad that Adam Green is not only a man of his word but has a vision that keeps me employed. (Laughs)

BE: Plus, we got to see a little bit more of him this go around.

TT: Yeah. Well, he had told me the back story when we did the first one, so I was able to play that scene in the first one knowing the full knowledge. And then we got to go down to New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities.

BE: Even better. So what was it like to get the chance to step back into the Reverend’s shoes? I mean, he’s certainly an interesting character.

TT: Yeah, I tried to find his reality, which is that he’s a small time con man from New Jersey. His real name is Clive Washington. And just like when we go from high school to college, you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself, and he’s a reinvented person that, unfortunately, is believing his own hype. He can’t shed it.

BE: How did you and Adam first meet up?

TT: I met Adam on a convention circuit, actually. He comes from the fan world. He’s very enthusiastic; loves film, particularly horror. I think we chatted a few times, and then he made me an offer to play Reverend Zombie. I turned it down. And then he and (John Carl) Buechler kind of lobbied and convinced me that it was a project worth taking.

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24 8.23-24: The last day of our acquaintance

There but for the grace of God goes Fox, who dares to air the series finale to one of their most successful shows in the shadow of “Lost,” which was basically the biggest series finale since “Cheers.” Man, do you remember the cast of “Cheers” on Leno’s show after that last episode aired? They were smashed. Good times.

The “24″ finale, however, was not good times.

The bad guys won. Allison had the video of Starbuck with the Russian. Mr. Blonde wiped his servers, so the backup copy of the video was gone. The recording of the conversation between I.M. Weasel and Suvarov, which Jack gave to Chloe, was confiscated by Dominic. Chloe and Buffy are looking at long stints in the slammer for treason. Jack is looking at either the death penalty or life in a deep dark hole somewhere halfway around the world, if he’s lucky. Game over. Bad guys win.

Well, that’s how this would have happened in the real world.

But not here. Instead, Jack, Chloe and Buffy are saved by a long-overdue crisis of conscience on the part of one Allison Taylor. One that, ideally, shouldn’t have needed to happen in the first place – this is where frequent commenter Mr. Paulsen would make a crack about manufactured conflict, and he’s not wrong – but there you are. That’s a hell of a way to end your show about an ass-kicking counter-terrorist agent, with him being saved not by his wits but by someone else’s guilty conscience. And by a hell of a way, I mean lame.

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“So what did that Medsker fucker say about me this week? Man, I hate that guy.”


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24 8.22: On with the body count

There’s no other way to say it: the carnage from tonight’s episode of “24″ had me positively giddy. Jack Bauer may have dispensed some Dirty Harry-style justice in the past, but this time around, he’s a Terminator. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, and he absolutely will not stop until you are dead. Jesus, I can still feel the small jabs that he hit that hit man with last week, but that shot of Novakovich’s suite littered with dead guys, with Novakovich himself taking a poker to the stomach…that was a thing of beauty. I have been waiting for years to see Jack do something like that. Way to give the people what they want, Fox. I love it when shows finally start acting like they have nothing to lose. Unfortunately, they usually only do this after they’ve lost everything.

Having said that, I’m still unhappy that Jack hasn’t thought to upload the incriminating video to the interwebs. On the plus side, Mr. Blonde still has a copy of it on his hard drive, and since the video is of Starbuck, and Buffy is the one that’s about to pay him a visit, it’s possible that Buffy will get one look at this video and want to blow the whistle whether Jack wishes it or not. Either way, it will be a huge missed opportunity if the world doesn’t see that clip.

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“Hello? Hey, Mr. Rafferty, how are you? Are the royalty checks still coming in?”


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Greetings to the New Season: Fox

The network upfronts roll on, this time with the fine folks at Fox trotting out their new fall schedule and revealing which new series have been selected to accompany those series which have survived. As of this writing, there are no clips to accompany the descriptions of the new shows, but I’m led to understand that we’ll be getting those in due course, so…oh, wait, scratch that: they just arrived!

Well, with that being the case, you can read the descriptions and check out the clips of what Fox has for us for the upcoming season. Just be sure to let us know what you think about what they’re offering up! Oh, and before you ask, we didn’t forget to include a clip for the last series. They didn’t offer a clip for the last series…but, hell, I don’t even think they’ve cast it yet, so at least they’ve got a good excuse.

MONDAY

8 – 9 PM: HOUSE

9 – 10 PM: LONESTAR: a provocative soap set against the backdrop of big Texas oil, from Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman, the creators of “Party of Five”; Marc Webb, the director of “(500) Days of Summer”; and creator Kyle Killen. Robert / Bob Allen (newcomer James Wolk) is a charismatic and brilliant schemer who has meticulously constructed two lives in two different parts of Texas. He’s juggling two identities and two women in two very different worlds – all under one mountain of lies. As “Bob,” he lives in Houston and is married to Cat (Adrianne Palicki, “Friday Night Lights”), the beautiful daughter of Clint (Jon Voight, 24, “Midnight Cowboy”), the patriarch of an ultra-wealthy Texas oil family. More than 400 miles away in the suburban west Texas town of Midland, he’s “Robert,” living a second life with his sweet, naïve girlfriend, Lindsay (Eloise Mumford, “Mercy,” “Law & Order: SVU”). In Midland, he plays the perfect boyfriend while secretly bilking local investors of their savings. In Houston, he’s a devoted husband, charming Cat and her family to cement his position in the rich family business he aims to clean out. Bob has lived both lives successfully for years without arousing any suspicions…so far.

While one brother-in-law, Drew (Bryce Johnson, “Popular,” “The Mentalist”), admires Bob, his other brother-in-law, Trammell (Mark Deklin, “Nip/Tuck,” “Desperate Housewives”), is suspicious of his motives. Bob begins to fear his secret lives may unravel. With the cons closing in on him, Bob is divided by his love for two women; his loyalty to his father and mentor, John (David Keith, “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “The Class”); and his respect for his father-in-law, Clint. Now as he tries to hold his two lives together, while fending off angry investors and the suspicions of those around him, Bob puts it all on the line hoping he can beat the odds, leave the schemes behind and keep two separate relationships afloat.

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24 8.21: The knife feels like justice

Tonight’s episode of “24″ felt like a blast from the past. It was pretty lean in terms of storytelling, it contained a hellacious, if predictable, end-around, and ended with one of the most vicious torture scenes in the show’s history. Pity it had one major, major flaw.

I liked that Dominic was so busy trying to nail down Bauer down that he took no notice of Chloe and Merv the Perv conspiring behind his back. Even when he noticed Chloe giving him The Look (you know the one), he just tinted the windows and kept on scheming. Fool. Nobody puts Chloe in a corner. Still, you’d think Dominic would show a little more diplomacy when safeguarding high crimes committed by the White House. By yanking that file away from Arlo, he may as well have stamped “CORRUPT” on his forehead.

As Jack is setting up the meet with White She Devil, I’m thinking to myself, “There has to be a better way to do this.” Not in terms of getting her the evidence (more on that in a bit), but in terms of meeting out in the open like that. So as it’s going down and he shows up, I knew he’d have a plan, and sure enough, he did. He didn’t care about getting caught on camera – he knew the hit man who took out Crazy Jackie would be there, and could then settle two scores for the price of one. Get the intel, and make the motherfucker responsible for Jackie’s death squeal like a stuck pig before ultimately killing him. Re-enter Mr. Blonde, to get the drop on Dmitri Sharpshooter.

But I have another idea.

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“Let’s see, stab him, then the lighter fluid, then the blowtorch, then the pliers. No, pliers first, the crowd loves it when I open with that.”


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24 8.20: Put me down

Bledsoe: “You won’t take the shot, it’s too risky! I’ll kill her before you…”
Jack: *Blam*

Seriously, that was one of the best deaths in “24″ history. Here was Toepick, trying to act all intimidating, when Jack was a mere five or six feet away. He may as well have had the gun on Toepick’s forehead. Heck, I’m pretty sure Jack has made that shot across a windy rooftop with a pea shooter in a previous season.

As Jack continues to thwart I.M. Weasel’s nefarious plans, Logan’s conversations with Allison remind me of a “Simpsons” episode – in full disclosure, it should be noted that pretty much everything reminds me of a “Simpsons” episode – where Apu is trying to get out of his arranged marriage to a family friend, and Homer suggests that he pretend that he’s married to Marge, and Bart and Lisa are his kids. When the plan continues to go wrong, Apu finally grows tired of Homer’s wacky schemes:

Apu: Is it me, or do all of your plans involve some horrible web of lies?
Homer: It’s you.

Logan is Homer. Allison is Apu. Only she’s still going along with Logan’s ridiculous suggestions, even though each one is riskier and more conspicuous than the last one. Again, the woman who sent her own daughter to prison is authorizing Logan to put his assistant (official “24″ nickname: Dominic, from his “Dollhouse” days) in charge of the hunt for Jack at CTU. Because that doesn’t look at all suspicious that you’re putting someone in between Jack and Chloe. Yumpin’ yiminy.

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“Well, I say he does have to shoot me now! So shoot me now!”


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24 8.18: You’re with stupid now

First, let’s meet the two newest members of of the “24″ cast:

- Jim Ricker (Michael Madsen), an ‘I can get things’ kind of guy, off the grid and on the wrong side of a favor to Jack. Official “24″ nickname: Mr. Blonde, of course.
- Mark Bledsoe (D.B. Sweeney), a ridiculously mustachioed private security agent who isn’t afraid to dabble in torture. Official “24″ nickname: Toepick. My wife came up with that one, as you might imagine.

Welcome to the show, gentlemen. Now please, D.B., shave that damn thing on your face.

Do you want to know how busy Michael Madsen is? His appearance on “24″ is already listed as the 34th most recent acting gig he’s done. That man’s a machine.

There is still something about President I.M. Weasels’ motives that bothers me. I’m convinced he still has at least one card, and maybe two, up his sleeve. He can’t just be looking for an image makeover, because he wouldn’t resort to extortion – poorly planned extortion, at that – in order to do it…would he? For as much as he’s supposedly playing the hardliner with the Russians, he’s also protecting them and himself by negotiating Starbuck’s release into Toepick’s custody, willing to live with the consequences in the event that “mistakes are made.” No, the extortion actually looks like a cover for something worse, possibly that he’s in league with the Russians, or a group that stands to take advantage of a post-treaty Russia. I don’t think we’ve seen the full weaselosity of Logan yet, which is saying something.

On the Starbuck front, something deliciously awesome just presented itself as a possibility: Jack and Buffy spring Starbuck, and the three work together to blow the lid on the conspiracy. Now, who saw THAT coming after Starbuck revealed herself to be a double agent? I thought her story ended with a bullet to the head, fired by her fiance. Now, they look like the “24″ version of The Losers, government spooks trying to clear their name. Hopefully, this will turn out better than the movie.

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“Well, self, are you ready to commit high crimes against the government?” “Bitch, please.”


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24 8.18: What price paradise

Nickname change: President Buck Buck Brawwwwwwwwk will now be referred to by his original nickname of President I.M. Weasel. Because holy fuck, man, he is the sleaziest character this show has ever seen.

The thing is, I actually loved his scene with Novakovich, where he put the ambassador over a barrel and said, “Get back to the table, or you’re done.” It was vintage Charles Logan, done with a nod and that greasy half-smile of his. However, now that Jack Bauer nearly blew the lid off of everything using good old-fashioned detective work – with no small amount of intimidation – we learn that Logan’s plan, in full, was as follows:

1) Blackmail the Russian government into accepting the treaty
2) Tell President Taylor nothing about how he persuaded them to change their minds
3) Hope that his secret never gets out

Huh. I’m not sure he thought this through.

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“So can you actually feel the weasel rays I give off when I’m this close?” “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my soul screaming.”


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24 8.17: Bury my lovely…again

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

Someone damaged Renee Walker’s perfect breasts.

Two weeks ago, I said:

I was sure that Jackie was going to get picked off though, but it’s too soon for a dramatic death scene like that. That one comes in Hour 23. Book it, Dan-O.

This week, I get punched in the face. Actually, this was worse than a punch to the face – it was a full-scale mugging. My beloved Crazy Jackie, picked off by some douchenozzle Russian hit man. These guys haven’t meant shit to the plot for half the season, and now the Russians are suddenly the phantom menace. Fuck that.

Can you tell I’m unhappy about the latest development?

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“I’ve lived a full life, and these are the eyes/breasts that I want you to remember.”


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24 8.15-16: I would die 4 U

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I’m writing this while hopped up on Oxycodone. And let me tell you, it’s awesome. The only catch is that the line between sleepy bliss and blinding pain is a thin one. So here goes nothing. If my writing goes off the rails…it’ll look like every other week! (*rim shot*)

Starbuck has finally been found out, and her demand to deal only with Jack struck me as curious, given his talents for persuading people to talk. You could tell by the way that she made the demand that she’s following orders, and that her employers have experience with him. I’ll still hold on to Alan Wilson as a possibility, and God help them if they hold Kim and her daughter hostage as a last resort. After the things that happened tonight, that would totally suck to have it undone by Kim, again.

Man, Samir’s people can act fast, can’t they? He’s a dozen blocks away from driving into an ambush, and is able to get the call from Starbuck and relay that information to the drop car in time to get into the one place they can make the switch. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but…it’s a hell of a thing, don’t you think?

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Pity you didn’t get to die with your boots on, Slumdog.

Let’s get straight to the ending, shall we? While I don’t like seeing good guys die, it was nice to see “24″ finally act like a show that has nothing to lose. Because hey, let’s face it, they don’t have anything to lose, so why not kill Slumdog President? And the thing is, from the moment Jack broke into that apartment, I had a bad feeling. I knew that their audio wizard had picked up an internet broadcast of Samir rather than Samir in the flesh, but I thought that it would turn out to be the wrong room, not the right room but much too late. Oh well, same result either way, I guess: Slumdog’s dead. Long live Slumdog.

So now what?

All of Samir’s men are dead, or close to it. He has no nuclear rods, and he’s killed the President. We have eight hours left, and nothing to play for. Starbuck’s deal was only good if they recovered Slumdog alive. Since that didn’t happen, I’d quit negotiating with her and put her alone in a windowless room with Buffy so he can hate fuck her to death. The Russians and President Buck Buck Brawwwwwwk look as though they’re being put in play, but it seems too little too late. I’m dying to hear the explanation for why Logan’s not dead though, since the last time we saw him, he was flatlining in the back of an ambulance.

All right, the meds are wearing off. It’s time to wrap this up. I usually finish with a video, but Prince is a right bastard about YouTube. See you next week, and hopefully this drug stuff is far behind me.

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