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, Seed of Chucky, Shallow Hal and There's Something About Mary. Gardner helped create the signature helmets for Daft Punk, as well as an animatronic robot for their "Technologic" music video. He wrote and directed Daft Punk's music video for the song "The Prime Time of Your Life" and associate produced and populated a world full of robots for the duo's feature-length directorial debut, Daft Punk's Electroma. Beyond the film-making arena, Gardner's special effects company Alterian, Inc. has also designed and created the popular GEICO Cavemen characters as well as the current iteration of Smokey Bear.

Alterian's makeup effects for Johnny Knoxville's character in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa were nominated for an Academy Award as well as a Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist Guild Award, and won the Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist Guild Award for Best Special Makeup Effects in the Feature Film category for 2014.


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 seven-year-old burn ward patient. 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 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", "Instant Crush", and "The Prime Time of Your Life", the latter of which he also directed. He worked alongside the duo as an associate producer for their first feature film Daft Punk's Electroma, a film that his company Alterian, Inc. also populated a world full of robots for.

Gardner's Alterian, Inc. designed and created the makeup effects for the film Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. The makeup effects for Johnny Knoxville's character were nominated for both an Academy Award for Best Makeup & Hairstyling and a Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist Guild Award in 2013. The work received the Guild Award for Best Special Makeup Effects in the Feature Film category.[2]


  • 2014: Won Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award for 'Best Special Makeup Effects - Feature Films' for Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (shared with Stephen Prouty)
  • 2007: Nominated for OFTA Award for "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" for the film Hairspray
  • 1994: Nominated for Saturn Award for "Best Makeup" for the film Army of Darkness
  • 1994: Nominated for Saturn Award for "Best Makeup" for the film Freaked (shared with Steve Johnson and Screaming Mad George)
  • 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. ^

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