Katy Perry Lately: Makeup Effects Magician Tony Gardner transforms Katy Perry into five of the World's Worst Party Entertainers for her latest music video

Makeup Effects Magician Tony Gardner transforms Katy Perry into five of the World's Worst Party Entertainers for her latest music video, "Birthday," with amazing results

Katy Perry Goes Undercover for her Birthday and Wreaks Havoc

n the new video for the song "Birthday," Katy Perry achieves something amazing, successfully disguising herself as five unique characters and then crashing several birthday parties and one bar mitzvah.

Playing the "World's Worst Birthday Entertainers," a list of which includes a scantily clad elderly Las Vegasstripper, a male Jewish MC, an alcoholic clown, a mouse-eating animal trainer, and an artistically challenged face-painting princess--she successfully wreaks havoc on everyone's lives, and gets away unrecognized.

Filmed over the course of three days, the video succeeds thanks to the makeup effects artistry of Tony Gardner, whose other milestones include turning John Travolta into a buxom housewife for the film "Hairspray," and unleashing an elderly Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) on the unsuspecting public for all of the "Jackass" films to date, including the Oscar-nominated "Bad Grandpa."

Gardner credits Katy Perry for the makeup's success: "Working with someone like Katy, who's as confident as she is creative, is extremely liberating," said Gardner. "Collaborating with someone so willing to lose themselves into the makeups, and have no vanity, makes it possible for me to really push the character's design and layer a lot of detail into each character's appearance. Add her fearless performances to that, and all of those characters succeed in coming to life as real people in the real world."

"It takes guts to walk out cold into the world as Goldie, a ninety year old showgirl with full body prosthetics, or as Yosef, the pudgy male MC character with chest hair and a mustache, and then perform in character in front of a room full of strangers and try to elicit a response. She makes it look easier than it is."

Gardner and his team of artists at Alterian (www.alterianinc.com) had less than two weeks to create the prosthetics required for the four makeup effects characters. "Having very little prep time seems to be the name of the game these days," says Gardner. But the challenge presented by those limitations is exactly what he finds most energizing.

And Gardner is no stranger to customers with high demands. Gardner helped Daft Punk realize their robotic selves and then bring those chromed characters to life, functional LED read-outs and all. And Director Danny Boyle came to Gardner to realize sequences from the film "127 HOURS" that involved James Franco having to sever his arm on camera in real time with complete medical accuracy.

"What others might cite as 'problems' or 'limitations,' I look at as 'challenges,'" says Gardner. "And those challenges quite often inspire you to approach things from a different and new perspective, which might lead to solutions you would have never even anticipated otherwise."

"Time was definitely our major challenge with the 'Birthday' music video characters, though, on the days filming as well as during the pre-production design and manufacturing." All in all, Katie spent over 15 hours of the video's three day shoot in the makeup chair getting in and out of the makeups, five of those being the hours required for Goldie's full body prosthetics. And a children's birthday party has its own schedule to keep, guest performer or not."

"The entire process was a great experience, and I'd love to see Goldie make a come-back some day ...or go on tour with Katy," said Gardner, adding, "she was definitely a charmer."

DICKHOUSE.TV: Tony Gardner and The Bust of Irving Zisman

In the final lap to the Oscars, in which a little ol' movie called Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa is nominated in the "Best Makeup & Hairstyling" category, here's a look at the man who has been behind the prosthetic design of Irving Zisman since 2001: Tony Gardner of Alterian, Inc. Tony, still riding high on the Alterian crew's win at the recent Hollywood Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards, stopped by the office yesterday to present Johnny Knoxville with this eerily lifelike sculpt of Irving. Who knows, maybe if we take the Oscar (fingers crossed!) he'll come by with a full-body life-size nude of Gloria for Tremaine. Perchance to dream!

(Photo by Sean Cliver; 2014)

THE PLAIN DEALER | "Hairspray" effects man from North Olmsted transforms Travolta

North Olmsted native Tony Gardner creates John Travolta's fat suit for 'Hairspray'

Plain Dealer Reporter
If John Travolta were a plus-size, middle-age woman, what size bra would he wear?
The answer is lost to history. The man in a position to know -- "Hairspray" makeup-effects designer Tony Gardner -- didn't jot it down. "Once we were into triple letters, I kinda lost track," he said.
Gardner created the fat suit that transformed Travolta into Edna Turnblad, the overprotective, foodaholic mom of Tracy Turnblad in "Hairspray." The movie adaptation of the musical opened Friday.
Gardner is co-owner and lead designer for Alterian Inc., an Irwindale, Calif., company specializing in makeup and animatronic effects. Alterian worked on movies such as "Shallow Hal," "Three Kings" and "Adaptation." It is also behind the Geico cavemen commercials and upcoming television series.
But "Hairspray" is Gardner's biggest movie job so far. When Gardner, 42, was hired, the producers told him if Edna didn't work, they didn't have a film. "The pressure was on in the very, very beginning," said Gardner, who grew up in North Olmsted.
Travolta said he wanted to look like a curvy girl who grew up to be a mom. Gardner frequently e-mailed rough drafts of possible looks to the actor. "He's the one who has to wear it," Gardner said. "Everything he said was great."
The effects staff started work about three months before filming began. In early 2006, Gardner and his crew flew to Travolta's home near Orlando to do a life cast. Travolta stood on a tarp in his garage, which houses his extensive car collection, while effects specialists wrapped his body with plaster bandages to make a cast. He sat to have his head and shoulders covered with a masklike substance.
Later, fiberglass duplicates made from the plaster bandage mold and mask were formed into a full-standing duplicate body.
Gardner designed a body suit filled with a lightweight synthetic material, with pads overlaid like shingles to add heft. Silicone was used from the chest up; it had the added bonus of covering Travolta's beard. "I didn't want the guy growing through makeup in the middle of the day," Gardner said.
The first suit made Travolta look like "a dumpy, Alfred Hitchcock version of Edna," Gardner said. Validation came when Travolta, in character and makeup, greeted his fellow actors during a rehearsal in Toronto. No one recognized him. Then the actors broke into applause.
"It was what I needed as an artist and what John needed as a performer," Gardner said.

STRAIGHT.COM l 127 Hours makeup and special effects artist Tony Gardner makes Alex Pettyfer Beastly

127 Hours makeup and special effects artist Tony Gardner makes Alex Pettyfer Beastly


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LOS ANGELES TIMES | ENTERTAINMENT: "Shallow Hal" Fat Suit Not Just Skin-Deep

'Shallow Hal' Fat Suit Not Just Skin-Deep

Even behind the scenes, Gwyneth Paltrow's form-fitting costume takes on a larger meaning.


Audiences have come to expect the outrageous from the Farrelly brothers, the directing duo behind the gross-out gags of "There's Something About Mary." But their new comedy, "Shallow Hal," offers perhaps the most shocking sight of all: famously svelte Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow emoting while encased in a fat suit.

In the 20th Century Fox film, which opens Friday, the looks-obsessed title character, played by "High Fidelity's" Jack Black, receives the ability to see women's exteriors reflect their inner beauty. Thus he sees Paltrow's good-hearted Rosemary as the actress' 120-pound self, while others see Rosemary in all her 350-pound girth.

The challenge of making Paltrow recognizable through the prosthetic makeup, wig and layers of foam and spandex fell to makeup-effects designer Tony Gardner. "No one had really taken a woman in a [fat] suit this far before," Gardner says.

Beginning with a body cast of Paltrow, the makeup effects team took three months to perfect the heavy makeup and construct her form-fitting suit, which actually weighed only about 25 pounds. Working on someone as thin as Paltrow was a plus, because her body formed a very solid, non-flabby understructure. The makeup was more difficult because Gardner had to preserve her most distinctive facial features, her cheekbones and jawline.

"It's a weird Catch-22," Gardner says, "because you need for people to see her enough to know that it's her, but you need to bury her in it successfully enough so that it moves realistically."

Paltrow's suit needed to be designed for mobility as well as form; ultimately, Gardner had multiple suits built at his Los Angeles shop to simulate how weight shifted when she was sitting, standing and running. The suits were built in pieces: an upper body that zips up the spine and a lower half, from the 48-inch waist to the kneecaps, that zips up the front like a pair of pants. In addition, there were separate pieces for each calf and gloves for her hands made of silicone. (The prostheses were built by Artist's Asylum.)The first time Paltrow saw herself in the full suit and makeup, at a test in a New York hotel room before filming began, she was overwhelmed. "I had a thousand emotions. I was laughing and crying, and I was shocked and loved it," she says. "It was very intense."