Killer Bill: Atlanta actor makes mark as ‘Too Many Cooks’ silent assassinWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The voice on the other end of the phone is kind. Bright. A little higher than you’d expect, given its owner. A definite southern twang — understandable since he’s lived in Georgia so long, though he’s Pennsylvanian by birth. He’s gracious, good-natured, a sweetheart.
You wouldn’t guess how natural he looks chopping people’s heads off with a machete.
William Tokarsky is his name, and for the past week or so his face has become the central image of one of the Internet’s most wildly successful viral videos.
He plays the killer — “Bill,” if the credit on IMDb.com is to be believed, though he’s never named in the short — at the center of the bizarre satire “Too Many Cooks,” produced by Cartoon Network.
“I was working as an extra for [director and writer] Casper Kelly on another show he does on Adult Swim,” Tokarsky said in an interview with Toledo Free Press.
“And we became friends, and he liked my look. And there were two or three other people he had in mind for that role, and we all submitted this little tape and audition, and he picked me. And I think I did a decent job.”
Tokarsky is putting it mildly. His gleefully crazed facial expressions and malevolent presence are key to much of the short’s dark comedy. It’s a look that has served Tokarsky well since he first began dipping his toe into acting.
“I retired from General Motors. And they were making a movie where I live. And suburban Atlanta has become a hotbed of movie and TV production. And I was talking to some people that used to be on the line working, and there’s people that were extras. And I thought, ‘Well, I could do that!’ And I just started doing that.
“I have a unique look that garnered me a position up front sometimes, to the point where someone tapped me on the shoulder on [The] ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ [set] and said, ‘You have a speaking line next week if you want it.’”
No speaking lines were needed on the set of “Too Many Cooks,” though. Tokarsky’s silent maniac appears subtly at first, stalking in the background of many shots, to the point where many viewers may not notice him until he begins his mad slasher act in earnest. Even Tokarsky is surprised at how often he appears in the finished product.
“I never had a script when we did it. So basically, what occurred was, they would place me, or give an action, and I would do it. And you don’t necessarily shoot in order. So it was a surprise to me that we were playing ‘Where’s Waldo,’” he said.
“I watched it the first time, and never saw myself in locations — like the 22-second mark in, where I’m standing behind the little girl — I didn’t see myself there. But I was there when we filmed the damn thing! It’s like I didn’t see the big picture in Casper’s mind when we filmed it. He gave me an action, and I did it.”
The success of “Cooks” has come as a surprise for most. But even though Tokarsky admits he’s not exactly part of the demographic the short is aimed at, he said he had a feeling it would either be a colossal success or an equally memorable failure.”
“I was speaking with my wife, and I said, ‘Well, there’s one of two things that’s going to happen. This thing is going to stink so bad, no one’s ever going to see it. Or, it’s going to go viral.’”
Now that his latter prediction has come true, Tokarsky’s excited about the opportunities his sudden exposure may bring. “I would think I would get a few things out of it — you know, the creepy janitor on a TV show,” he said.
“I’ve found my genre; I’ve found what I can do. I’m retired, and I have a decent pension, so, as a friend of mine, another actor, said — ‘It’s all gravy.’ And I’m having fun with it, I got an agent last April, I’ve pretty much stopped doing extra work except for Casper — I’m going to work for him, because I like him, and he likes me, and maybe I can get a contract out of him on his other show!”
Is Tokarsky worried about being typecast, thanks to “Too Many Cooks”’ popularity? Not at all. In fact, he relishes the idea.
“I know who I am, so it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “If you want to act, you got to get an agent, you get an agent where they don’t have 10 other guys looking for your role. Because how many guys want to be the creepy guy?”
View “Too Many Cooks” on Adult Swim’s YouTube page: http://youtu.be/QrGrOK8oZG8.