ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap: Trailer

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PLAIN DEALER: Double Tap - Bringing Back the Infected Zombie Hordes at Alterian, Inc.

North Olmsted’s Tony Gardner gives life to the living dead in ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ with makeup and effects

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Zombie apocalypse movies always seem to start somewhere in rural America. Someone gets infected, someone gets bitten and presto! Global gore.

For Tony Gardner, who created the zombies in the current “Zombieland: Double Tap” and its 2009 predecessor, “Zombieland,” “rural America” was North Olmsted.

“I’ve always been involved in making films,” said Gardner in a call to his special effects company Alterian Studios in Irwindale, California, outside Los Angeles. “A bunch of us in the [North Olmsted] neighborhood would make movies almost every weekend just for fun.

“They were usually effects-type films, with stop-motion or creatures or makeup or something in them,” he said. “Something that was perceived as weird stuff back then. It was not a career choice in Ohio back in the ’80s.”

It is now.

During his career, which began working with seven-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker during the making of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, he’s done the effects makeup for “Shallow Hal,” “127 Hours,” “Cult of Chucky,” “Bad Grandpa,” “Return of the Living Dead,” “Addams Family Values,” “Hocus Focus” and more, as well as music videos for Daft Punk and the Foo Fighters.

“I’m responsible for the design of the creature or character for a film and the development of the character and testing of it,” Gardner said in explaining the responsibilities he holds as head of a makeup effects department and makeup designer, posts he held on the new “Zombieland” movie.

Tony Gardner

Makeup and effects designer Tony Gardner works on a zombie-to-be in the original “Zombieland,” back in 2009. Gardner reprised his role as head of makeup effects and design in the sequel out this Friday, “Zombieland: Double Tap,” as well as scores of other horror-type films and even a Foo Fighters video.Alterian, Inc.

But he’s one of those hands-on bosses, too. On the set of “Zombieland” and other films, he’s one of the artists applying the makeup and prostheses, the fake blood, the gore, all the fun stuff.

“The highest count on any given day was about 350,” Gardner said, when asked how many zombies he and his crew had to “do.” That volume came during crowd scenes, which featured various zombies and stunt zombies. “We spent two weeks doing all the crowd stuff. We had to bring in an extra dozen makeup artists to get all those scenes. The makeup department grew to 28 people.”

Then there’s the challenge in this film of people either becoming zombies, or seeming to. (Warning: Spoiler alert!)

“With Madison [actress Zoey Deutch’s vacuous blond character], there were very specific points where she changes her look,” Gardner said. “The day was scheduled around them stopping [filming] and giving us an hour to add swollen eye bags and a swollen upper lip.

“But with Flagstaff and Albuquerque [two hilarious doppelganger characters for film stars Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus and Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee], it took two days,” he said. “The stunt doubles had to change as well. It was kind of ‘let’s stop, let’s go’ because they tried to shoot in continuity order as much as possible.”

So, for a guy who loves Halloween and gets paid to create costumes, makeup and effects that scare the pants off the rest of us, what scares Gardner?

“It’s funny because the things that scare us are the weirdest things,” said Gardner, who once was investigated because one of his effects — a bullet traveling through a body in the George Clooney film “Three Kings” — looked so real that authorities feared he’d used the body of a real homeless man.

“We had a body of a character for show and the question has always been storage [at his shop],” he said, which prompted an interesting solution.

“We strapped it to a rolling office chair, so it looks like it’s sitting up, and everybody just moves it out of their way and rolls the chair over to someone else’s table,” he said. “At the end of the night, when you’re getting ready to lock up, you look up and somebody’s sitting in a chair staring at you.

“We have severed heads of different people and use them as actors in shows,” Gardner said. “We’re kind of blase about the whole dismembered body-parts thing.”

You might think that would be a weird environment for kids, and in some ways, you’re probably right. But Gardner’s three children have embraced it, both as occasional performers — eldest daughter Brianna and youngest daughter Kyra were both zombies in this latest movie, and played the same character at different ages in a Daft Punk music video — and in their own career choices.

His son Austin is a medical student and is working toward his doctorate in forensic pathology and forensic anthropology.

By the way, Gardner has a bit of an unusual twist on the old “take your daughter to work day”:

“I’ve got Brianna’s [severed] head from the Netflix series ‘The Mist’ mounted on the wall in our sculpting room as a reference tool,” he said.

Have to wonder if Foo Fighters founder and frontman Dave Grohl saw that before signing up for Alterian to do the makeup for the band’s video “Run,” in which all the musicians were made up to look like Methuselah’s ancestors. If so, it probably would have been the deal clincher.

“Doing the Foo Fighters video, Dave Grohl and the others were so excited to be able to play in the prosthetics we did for them that they were disappointed when it was over,” Gardner said.

Grohl directed the video, and did it in character, even.

“Dave wore his old man makeup from early in the morning till the end of the day,” he said, and in an odd way, it apparently made it easier for others to take direction from such a “senior” character.

So that leaves one challenge for Gardner, who lives to do the difficult: Do the makeup for a video for Rock & Roll Hall of Famers the Zombies. Hey, he’s got the resume.

original article: https://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/2019/10/north-olmsteds-tony-gardner-gives-life-to-the-living-dead-in-zombieland-double-tap-with-makeup-and-effects.html

STAN WINSTON SCHOOL: Double Tap - Bringing Back the Infected Zombie Hordes at Alterian, Inc.


By Michael Martin


It has been ten years since the original Zombieland was released. An irreverent tongue-in-cheek film that took a fresh look at what the survivors of a zombie holocaust (including Bill Murray playing…Bill Murray!) could get up to.

Now the original cast has returned in Zombieland: Double Tap. Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Jessie Eisenberg are all there. Plus there are some new characters and a fan favorite. Also returning are original writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool) along with original director Ruben Fleischer (Venom). What more could you want? How about some more zombies created by original Zombieland makeup and effects artist Tony Gardner and his Alterian, Inc. crew? Check!

 (Alterian, Inc. founder Tony Gardner at work on actress Zoey Deutch for Zombieland: Double Tap. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

With a career that spans from the classic AliensThe Blob, and Darkman to the more recent 127 HoursBad Grandpa, and his ongoing work with Daft Punk, Tony sat down at his Alterian, Inc. studio with SWSCA to speak about Zombieland: Double Tap.


According to Tony, the film looked like a lot of fun from the start. The script was similar to the original, “…it was definitely one of those laugh out loud kind of reads…” The dialogue is sprinkled with what are sure to be new catchphrases, and the film delivers on bizarro doppelgängers, and an explosive finale.


 (Jessie Eisenberg, as Columbus, and Woody Harrelson, as Tallahassee, blast zombies in front of the White House. Image courtesy Columbia Pictures.)

Our favorite zombie hunters, Tallahassee, Wichita, Columbus, and Little Rock, are reintroduced in a hilarious slow-motion orgy of zombie killing outside a dilapidated White House. Tony says the complex scene was accomplished on the first day of the shoot. Three camera units rolled as the four heroes blasted several different groups of zombies that spew blood and vomit everywhere.

 (Emma Stone, as Wichita, and Abigail Breslin, as Little Rock, reload in front of the White House. Image courtesy Columbia Pictures.)

In order to simultaneously handle the different groups of zombies as the filmmakers tried to stay ahead of the moving sunlight, Gardner broke his makeup crew into several small teams. There were groups of zombies interacting with the lead actors, as well as the “second” and “splinter” units. Tony says that it was a schizophrenic way to start a movie but that it was, “…really good ‘cause it kinda set the tone.”


 (A zombie makeup test on Alterian crew member Meghan Reilly with a bloody silicone cheek appliance and mismatched eyes. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

The zombie designs created for the original film were drawn from real life. References used included actual diseases such as hoof-and-mouth and skin conditions like bed sores. “There had to be a genuine horror to the experience,” said Tony. These afflictions reflected an infected, decaying situation where the skin and tissue appeared to be melting and leaking. The zombie wounds would be abscessed, leaking puss with white and yellow colors mixed in.  “A sort of hot, sweaty, drippy mess.”


For the sequel, ten years later, Tony and the artists at Alterian, Inc. would follow a similar approach. At first though, they considered giving the zombies a more desiccated look as an alternative to the wet look developed for the original.

The Alterian team did makeup tests right off the bat, taking the zombie looks from the first film and projecting them out ten years into the future imagining that all of their juices would have leaked out. The dried-out looks would highlight skin pulled back over the teeth, a tighter bone structure underneath the taut skin and sun-dried flesh. The skin tones would feature more reds and browns with a little blistering thrown in, or, as Tony called it, “…not quite barbecue chicken.”

Yet in the end, it was Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer who insisted on bringing back the juice. Though he agreed that the dried-out look made logical sense, he noted that there was a signature Zombieland look, “…and these things need to be true to that look.” That ‘Zombieland look’ consisted of open wounds, discolored and caved-in skin, plus mismatched eyes with brown and black fluids leaking from every hole.

 (Makeup test bust of a ‘T-800’ zombie played by Ari Loeb. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)


The Alterian crew created a wide array of zombies. Including one variety who our heroes, in a delightful reference to the Terminator films, call the ‘T-800s’. These zombies are fast-moving and can take a lot of damage. They may be missing limbs or part of their heads, but they just keep on coming.

(Ari Loeb as a ‘T-800’ zombie in the makeup trailer with Thom Floutz and Tony Gardner. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

Other zombies included the heavy-set, slow-witted ‘Homer,’ a cleaner-looking, smarter zombie called ‘The Hawking,’ and the super-fast, nearly impossible to see ‘Ninjas.’

(John Dixon as one of the ‘Homer’ zombies on-set.  Note the comb over and ‘exploding cornea’ contact lenses. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)


Though many shows have stuck to the tried and true foam latex for their zombies, the prosthetics in Zombieland: Double Tap were primarily run in silicone. This choice made it easier to achieve the depth to the skin that they were looking for and to give it, “a sick sort of translucency,” said Tony. The zombie appliances ran the gamut from little blister appliances to big jagged wounds, many of them layered all together. A minimal number of Pros-Aide appliances were also used for some of the zombie makeups.

(Zombies! Images courtesy Columbia Pictures and Alterian, Inc.)

Playing one of the primary ‘T-800’ zombies, performer Ari Loeb would have more than twenty appliances applied, including little blisters on his ears, inside his ears, and even inside his nose.

(Ari Loeb made up as a ‘T-800’ zombie with over 20 appliances. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

To add depth, so that they didn’t just look like Halloween makeups, several of the performers playing zombies had sections of their beards or hair shaved off. Wounds would then be applied to these open areas.

(A nice look at the details on a ‘T-800’ zombie makeup on Tony Gardner’s daughter Kyra. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

The main exceptions to the silicone rule were the exploding heads. These were made from rigid foam with a foam latex skin.  As Tony explained, the positions in which the heads were required to be supported, with the skin and skull underneath, would have been too heavy if constructed from silicone.

(‘T-800’ zombie Ari Loeb sandwiched between foam latex copies of his head built for smashing. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

(Sequential shots of Ari Loeb’s head getting stomped on. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)


What would a zombie movie be without a bunch of blood and goo?  Tony revealed that there were some cold and sticky nights on the set for the fluid-soaked actors portraying zombies so heated tents were provided, with the lead actor zombies provided with showers.

(Makeup artist Bart Mixon touches up a zombified Robert Shavers in one of the large tents used to keep cast and crew warm. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

The makeup crew used Skin Illustrator for the foundation colors, sometimes applying the airbrush colors with a brush so that the drips running down the performers’ faces, arms and legs would stay in place. Hair gel was used to keep the zombies’ hair looking wet and spray bottles filled with watered-down Methocel were kept on hand for slimy touch-ups.

(Bill Corso and Thom Floutz apply a zombie makeup to Kevin King. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

The blood and goo covering the Zombieland: Double Tap zombies came in all types of colors, viscosities, and flavors.  For blood, there were several combinations including coffee, chocolate sauce and Karo syrup in different proportions. Each concoction would be used for specific shots and effects. Makeup artists applied the blood and slime in layers, with the darker stuff leaking from the nose, mouth, and ears while lighter colors were used around the eyes to avoid a ‘raccoon’ look.

(Andre Freitas details the eye area of a shredded zombie makeup on William Greenfield. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

Working with the wardrobe team, Alterian artists smeared and splattered their blood and goo concoctions all over the zombies’ clothing to create the illusion of bodily fluids leaking out everywhere, making them as gross as possible. The performers had “no way out,” Tony laughs. “If you were going to be a zombie, there was no way not to be gooey.”

 (Sue LaPrelle adds depth to a forehead wound on a zombie security guard played by Troy Butler. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

Because of the large number of zombies required for the film, many of those in the background were created with the help of tattoo transfers derived from flat artwork. According to Tony, “drawing all of the blistering, especially on the ‘T-800’ zombies, would’ve just been horrendous.”

(Alterian crew member Meghan Reilly in one of the zombie makeup tests. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)


According to Tony, all the returning Zombieland: Double Tap stars had script approval. But actor Woody Harrelson also had vomit approval! In the scene where Zoey Deutch gets sick, Harrelson requested a chunkier spew. The Alterian crew happily obliged by mixing up a delicious blend of vanilla pudding, a little honey, some almond milk, and hunks of granola for bulk.


(Actors Thomas Middleditch and Luke Wilson stir things up with our favorite zombie hunters. Image courtesy Columbia Pictures.)

When two new characters, doppelgängers of Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg played by actors Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch, succumb to the infection, director Fleischer wanted them to transform from human to zombie right in front of our eyes. Both actors were made up with prosthetics and had, as Tony says, “all of this stuff leaking out of them.” With each cut, the characters move further along in their zombification. Stunt doubles were also made up to match the two actors as they changed, sometimes switching out as the camera moved past during a take. “The good part,” says Tony, “is that we had two actors (Wilson and Middleditch) that were really gung-ho about doing all of it and wearing the lenses and just spitting up junk and having no problems doing it.”


(A few of the Alterian, Inc. crew assemble between takes on set, from left to right: Lens Tech Sean Kinney, Matt Sprunger, Kaylee Kehne-Swisher, Barney Burman, Ralis Kahn, Mark Nieman, Sue LaPrelle, Bart Mixon, Tony Gardner, Andre Freitas, Thom Floutz. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

Zombieland: Double Tap would require an army of artists both in L.A. and in Atlanta where the film was shot. There were trailers full of people and for the big finale, Tony was able to bring in even more makeup artists from Los Angeles for the last two weeks of the shoot.

(Left to Right: Barney Burman applies “infected” makeup to Katie Eischen, Bill Corso gives Jordan Salmon an undead makeover, Laura Dandridge and Barney Burman zombify Tony Gardner’s daughter Brianna.  Images courtesy Alterian, Inc.)

(Alterian, Inc. makeup artists applying zombie makeups for Zombieland: Double Tap. Images courtesy Alterian, Inc.)


Tony Gardner clearly loves what he does. Reuniting with many of the cast and crew from the original Zombieland created a real comfort zone. “We had the same writers, the same director, same producer, same visual effects, same makeup effects,” said Tony. “You know everybody’s name.”

Thinking about the future of makeup effects, Tony has noticed a return to practical effects and makeup effects live on-set, both in film and television. “It’s refreshing to have something that could have been done digitally go the practical route,” said Tony. “Having live makeup on-set for the actors to interact with lets the actors go nuts and express how great it is to actually work with a creature.”

As to prospects for another return to Zombieland in the future? Tony told us that Emma Stone suggested that they make a new Zombieland movie every ten years to see where these people are every decade. Tony agrees with her, “I think that’s a pretty great idea.”

(Zombieland: Double Tap‘s head zombie maker, Tony Gardner. Image courtesy Alterian, Inc.)





  • Lilo Tauvao
  • David Smith
  • Barney Burman
  • Andre Freitas
  • Vance Hartwell
  • Ken Banks
  • J. Michael O’Brien
  • Denise Baer
  • Justin Stafford
  • Aaron Romero
  • James Issacson
  • Meghan Riley
  • EYES:
  • Cristina Patterson
  • Jessica Nelson
  • Alison Kellerman
  • Brianna Gardner
  • Austin McCormack






  • MAKEUP EFFECTS ARTISTS (alphabetical order):
  • Barney Burman
  • Bill Corso
  • Jessica Gambradella
  • Eric Garcia
  • Tim Hays
  • Ralis Kahn
  • Kaylee Kehne-Swisher
  • Sue LaPrelle
  • Bill McCoy
  • Bart Mixon
  • Devin Morales
  • Mark Nieman
  • Mark Ross
  • Duane Saylor
  • Greg Solomon
  • Matt Sprunger
  • Adam Walls
  • Kyle Yaklin
  • Stephanie Anderson
  • Heather Benson
  • Tara Dipetillo
  • Andy Fowler
  • Jason Hodges
  • Brie Puneky
  • Kate Marlette
  • Missy Nyberg
  • Jan Rooney
  • Isabella Scuffle
  • Andrew Valentine
  • Deryk Wehrley
  • Roy Wooley
  • Darla Wigley

original article: https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/blog/zombieland-double-tap-zombie-makeup-effects-behind-the-scenes-with-alterian-inc-tony-gardner