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‘Candyman’ Star Tony Todd On Negotiating a Large Bonus for Every Bee Sting in Classic Horror Film

This may be one of the odder ways to earn money.

Actor Tony Todd was paid $1,000 every time a bee stung him on set when he was filming the 1992 horror classic “Candyman,” he recently revealed to “Entertainment Tonight.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 09: Actor Tony Todd attends the All in for CP celebrity charity poker event benefiting the One Step Closer Foundation’s effort to fight Cerebral Palsy at Bally’s Las Vegas on December 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

“Candyman” is about a Black painter who was brutally murdered in the 19th century for his interracial love affair with the white daughter of a wealthy landowner. He returns as an urban legend, and kills anyone who says his name five times in front of a mirror. Todd starred as the lead character, “Candyman.”

Candyman is accidentally summoned back to life by cynical research grad student Helen Lyle, played by Virginia Madsen. Lyle is studying the urban legends behind Candyman.

When Candyman was murdered his body was smeared with honey and he was stung to death by bees. When he returns so do the swarm of bees, which he now controls.

The Sting Clause

Todd, who has a net worth of $10 million, got paid for his minor injuries while making the first “Candyman” movie–he basically was rewarded for sacrificing his body in the film’s memorable and horrifying bee scenes.

The film reportedly used more than 200,000 real honeybees, Most of the crew had to wear bodysuits to be protected from stings, but the actors had to, well, act with the bees.

In his contract, Todd said there was a “sting-payment clause,” and he said he “didn’t mind [getting stung]” because he earned an additional $1,000. He reportedly got stung 23 times during filming.

“I’m going like, ‘Bring it on!'” he added.

Todd gives credit to his legal team for coming up with the clause, saying, “I had a great lawyer at the time, and we got paid.”

In one scene, Todd has his mouth and torso covered with bees. It was not a special effect – he really did have swarms of bees in his mouth, he claims.

In the scene with him is Madsen, who is allergic to bees. She was accommodated by paramedics on the set, just in case she was stung.

“But the bees that were on me were baby bees so they can sting, but they said they are less likely to,” Madsen told ET. “Then you had to sit for a good 20-25 minutes while [the bee wrangler] vacuums them off you.”

Todd’s Film Tally

The 1992 release of “Candyman” had a gross revenue of more than $25 million at the box office. It cost roughly $9 million to make.

It was followed by “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh,” (1995), “Candyman: Day of the Dead” (1999), and “Candyman” (2021). Todd starred in all of them.

It is worth mentioning that Todd has a number of horror movies to his credit, including “Night of the Living Dead” (1990), “Final Destination” (2000), and a cameo appearance in “Hell Fest” (2018).

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