With Teyonah Parris having a serious career moment, it was about time for Seth Meyers to finally have the Candyman star on Late Night. Introducing his guest, Meyers ran down just a few of Parris’ past and upcoming roles, including such critical darlings as If Beale Street Could Talk, Mad Men, and a little Marvel show called Wandavision, the entry point for the acclaimed actress into that ubiquitously star-making MCU. Meyers didn’t get to mentioning Chi-Raq, Dear White People, or the underrated TV sports drama Survivor’s Remorse, but that’s what happens when your eclectic and multi-faceted acting career outgrows the traditional late-night intro length.
Showing a clip from director Nia DaCosta’s 29-years-later direct sequel to the 1992 horror classic, Candyman, Meyers asked how it was to tempt fate by—in the film at least—uttering the legendarily hook-handed horror icon’s name five times. “I only said it on set when I had to,” laughed Parris, explaining that, even though she hadn’t seen the original film growing up, the specter of Tony Todd’s enduringly haunting movie bogeyman became a favorite dare around the house. “It was a thing that just sort of permeated the culture, the community,” said Parris, explaining that her brothers’ “game” of challenging each other to speak the dread name five times in the family bathroom never quite went all the way before someone wisely chickened out. Brothers are the pits.
Regardless, Parris told Meyers that the involvement of DaCosta (and current master of thoughtful horrors Jordan Peele) was enough to get her on board. Citing her appreciation for DaCosta’s first feature, the Tessa Thompson-anchored crime drama Little Woods, Parris said that, unlike the traditional horror sequel, she was confident that this Candyman “would be elevated, and it would have something to say,” all while “continuing the legacy” of the movie whose mere reputation scared the hell out of her as a child. (This Candyman, following in the footsteps of David Gordon Green’s belatedly revisited Halloween, pretends that the two increasingly disappointing Candyman sequels never happened.)
As to that other franchise she’s decided to class up with her presence, Parris rejected Meyers’ hopeful setup that she was going to defy one of those iron-clad, penalty-of-death Marvel/Disney NDAs and spill all the details of Monica Rambeau’s post-Wandavision return. In London shooting the Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels (coming in November—of 2022), Parris told Meyers merely that “it’s gonna be pretty epic,” quickly shifting over to her happy experience bringing superhero Rambeau (also Captain Marvel, maybe?) into Wandavision’s impressively inventive corner of the MCU. You know, since that show’s already happened, and the Disney/Marvel overlords can’t smite her. Candyman is terrifying, sure, but actors all know that spilling MCU secrets brings down the real monsters. The ones with the briefcases and the law degrees.