Tony Todd Calls Immortal "Prophetic," Says It Informed His Own Battle With Cancer

This week saw the release of Immortal, an anthology-style movie that brings four filmmakers and four small casts together to tell stories unified by a common thread: one character in each is immortal, and the audience doesn't know which. The stories run the gamut from violent and disturbing to heartbreaking, and the versatile Todd, despite being an icon in the "scary movies with a surprise twist" division, got a ride on the heartbreaking side. In his story, Todd plays Ted, a man whose wife Mary (Robin Bartlett, American Horror Story) is suffering from terminal cancer. With no hope of recovery and living in constant pain, Mary has elected to end her life via euthanasia.

The pair are visited by a documentary film crew, who are there to record the reasoning for Mary's decision, and both Mary and Ted pour their hearts out to Alex (Vanessa Lengies), who can barely keep herself together and maintain some kind of journalistic distance from the couple. All that dialogue, and all the pain and worry that went into the scene, seemed prophetic when, shortly after, Todd had his own brush with cancer, the actor told

"When I read it, I loved the storyline. Cancer has affected our lives in one way or the other, and it was ironic because when we filmed it -- right after that I happened to be diagnosed and I had to fight about nine months working throughout, doing chemo and it did change my whole perspective," Todd explained. "For me, looking back on it, it was very prophetic. I'm fine now, I'm cancer free. I have more excitement in life than ever before. Offers keep coming, in spite of this pandemic. So, there's very little to complain about. I just want you to see this film and the relationship with Robin Bartlett and I. I thought it was really gentle and genuine."

Even before his own diagnosis, though, Todd said that the script was so powerful that he was deeply impacted by his role in Immortal. The film, he suggested, was infused with the kind of empathy and humanity that one can't help but see onself in a little bit.


"I remember when I read it, me and my lady at the time, we read it together, she couldn't stop crying. I was moved by her and I just wanted to honor it. I know people like him in my family life, and I just wanted to give honor to that. How would you feel, if all of a sudden your partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness and you're trying to do everything you can, more than you ever did before, paying attention to how much honey you put in the tea, how you slice the lemons...? I don't want to say everybody could do it, but for me, it was a loaded situation and something I could relate to and I've seen people go through it. And to me, cancer is one of the greatest horror situations that could ever happen. It's real life, it's not a fictitious monster running aimlessly through the woods. It's real life. So, that's how we wanted to capture him. Robin was magnificent. Vanessa Lengies was fantastic, and came to set ready to go. And everybody knew it was something special as we were shooting; you could hear a pin drop."

Immortal is available on digital platforms for rental and purchase now.