Tony Gardner (designer)

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Tony Gardner (born in 1965, Cleveland, Ohio) is an American makeup and special effects designer. He has designed and created effects for many feature films, including the films Zombieland, 127 Hours, Hairspray, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, The Addams Family, Curse of Chucky, Shallow Hal and There's Something About Mary. He also contributed to the Daft Punk music videos for "Technologic", "The Prime Time of Your Life" and their feature-length film Daft Punk's Electroma. Beyond the film-making arena, his special effects company Alterian, Inc. designed and created the popular GEICO Cavemen characters.


His first professional job was for Rick Baker on Michael Jackson's music video for the song "Thriller". Gardner appeared in the video as the first zombie to crawl out of a grave as well as the hobbling zombie whose arm falls off. His daughter Brianna Gardner appeared in Shallow Hal (2001) as Cadence, the burned girl. Tony recommended her to the Farrelly brothers because he knew she would be capable of tolerating the extensive prosthetic burn make-up. She auditioned for and won the part.

He was investigated by Arizona State Police and Missing Persons Bureau for the makeup effects work designed and created for the feature film Three Kings (1999) involving a bullet traveling through a soldier's body. Arizona State Police originally believed that bullets had been fired through a real human cadaver and filmed with a high speed camera. The Missing Person's division thought that the "cadaver" was obtained by taking a homeless person off the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. Eventually, Tony had to write a disclaimer describing how he had achieved the sequences with makeup effects technology so that Warner Bros. could hand or fax the disclaimer out to all of the people flooding their offices with inquiries. Oddly enough, this was not an unfamiliar situation for Tony Gardner, as his work was investigated by FBI agents in Los Angeles several years earlier when a film lab called the police after viewing his work on an earlier film project.[citation needed]

His work on the 2010 Danny Boyle film 127 Hours has already received notoriety for the amputation sequences designed, engineered, and built to recreate the actual event in extreme closeup detail. The film's pre-release screenings at several film festivals have resulted in audience members requiring medical assistance. Gardner stresses though that the desired result was accuracy and an immersion in a recreation of the experience so that the audience experiences things through Aron Ralston's eyes.

Gardner is also noted for his work with electronic music duo Daft Punk. He helped create the signature robotic headgear worn by the duo.[1] He was also involved in the music videos for their singles "Technologic" and "The Prime Time of Your Life", the latter of which he directed. He later worked with the duo as an associate producer for their first feature film Daft Punk's Electroma. His most recent work with the duo has been as designer of special character effects for the music video of "Instant Crush".[2]


  • 2014: won Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award for 'Best Special Makeup Effects - Feature Films' for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • 2007: nominated for OFTA Award for "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" for the film Hairspray
  • 1991: nominated for Saturn Award for "Best Makeup" for the film Darkman


  1. ^ Liner notes of the Discovery album - "Bionics Engineering by Tony Gardner & Alterian"
  2. ^ "Daft Punk Unveil Video for 'Instant Crush'". Harder Blogger Faster Blog. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 

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